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King County parks, trails reopen with restrictions

King County is asking residents to "recreate responsibly" as more parks and trails begin to reopen.

SEATTLE — More than 200 parks and trails in King County reopened on Friday, May 8, but the county cautions they’ve placed restrictions on activities to make sure people are being safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The county is encouraging visitors to “Keep it Moving!” Visitors are asked to use the parks and trails for walking, running, riding, and rolling, but not to gather in parking lots or trailheads.

Officials said it’s important for everyone to “recreate responsibly” and to keep their distance as they head outside.

Regional and backcountry trails in King County also reopened Friday. If hiking, visitors should learn proper trail etiquette and communicate with others about who will get the right-of-way.

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The county said people should feel free to walk, run, bike, and pass through the recreation areas, but need to make sure they keep moving.

High-touch areas like the restrooms, play areas, campgrounds, and picnic shelters are still closed. Organized events and programs remain suspended. 

Parks Director Warren Jimenez said they realize with everything going during the pandemic, getting outside might be more important than ever.

“We know that people want to be able to experience our system to be able to relieve what has been a stressful situation, but we really want to stay open. So, we’re asking folks to be part of us staying open and recreating responsibly,” he explained.

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There are no plans to put staff at parks or trailheads to see if people are following the rules. Jimenez said they’re focusing on education.

Officials are asking people to stay at parks near their homes and to try and minimize the impact on other communities.

“We really want to encourage our community to stay local, stay close to home,” Jimenez said.

Click here for more information from King County.

VIEW: Coronavirus coverage from KING 5