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GVAC Keeps Parks and Trails Open, but Strongly Encourages Recreation in One’s Own Neighbourhood

Posted Thursday, April 9, 2020

At the April 8, 2020, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC) meeting, discussion took place on the accessibility of RDNO trails & natural spaces in the Greater Vernon area during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made to keep the areas open, but to encourage residents to alternatively enjoy the parks and trails in their own neighbourhoods or those that are less popular. 

“The best choice is for residents to walk, run or cycle in their own neighbourhoods,” said Akbal Mund, Chair of GVAC. “We have a large network of trails in the Greater Vernon area. Instead of visiting the busiest trails, like the Okanagan Rail Trail we encourage you to discover something new, and that is preferably in your neighbourhood.”

Discussion was also had on large groups of people seen gathering at the Greater Vernon Athletic Park, despite the facility’s closure and physical distancing orders. As a result of this, fences and closures signage have been placed at the park to further enforce the closure.

“We all absolutely must maintain physical distancing while using our parks and trails. Our decision to keep them open to the public does not mean we are not prepared to close them if people are clearly and consistently violating these measures,” said Mund. “When people violate physical distancing, they are putting their lives and the lives of people around them in danger. We take the health and safety of our residents very seriously.” 

With the plea for people to walk and exercise in their own neighbourhoods, the RDNO is reminding drivers to be extra vigilant with the added pedestrians and cyclists sharing the roadways.

The parks and trails affected by these decisions include:

  • RDNO owned section of the Okanagan Rail Trail (still under erosion work on weekdays);
  • Grey Canal Trail;
  • Kal Crystal Waters Trail;
  • Middleton Mountain Trail;
  • Swan Lake Nature Reserve; and,
  • BX Creek Trail.

For information on parks and trails not on this list, please contact the responsible municipality.