The case for keeping the parks open


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

I am mother to a boy and a beagle. I exercise my duties as a resident of Allegheny County by washing hands, monitoring health, avoiding gatherings that don’t involve my family. The fear of what is befalling other countries and cities in the U.S. is motivation enough.
My walks through Frick Park keep me going. This is my meditation, my spiritual and physical centering that allows me not to yearn for a life I had taken for granted a month ago.
I will do my bit to make sure I respect this privilege. I will keep my son off the play set. I will give every other parkgoer a wide, cheerful and considerate berth. I won’t use any park facilities that risk further spread of the virus. I will wash my hands before and after my walk.
I pray we all can use our parks in health and good conscience. I am afraid if we, as a community, cannot see each other, even if at a distance, in a venue as life-affirming as a park in springtime, we will suffer.
I understand the pressures on the city to ensure its facilities are used healthfully. If the parks close, it will be in the best interests of our community.
I hope this is a last resort, however. Assigning park rangers to high-traffic trails, leashing dogs, having more signs and cordons, and encouraging reporting of violations will help keep the parks functioning.
If not, I will continue to follow all the rules essential to end this crisis. I will just be a sadder person while doing it.


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