The weekend is almost upon us. Not something that normally needs pointing out on a Friday, but then these aren’t normal times. But one thing does remain oddly normal: the natural world. And this weekend’s forecast lives up to the adage for the just-ended month of March: In like a lion, out like a lamb. On the weekend horizon, sunny skies, temperatures around 70, and spring thrumming along as usual.
A quick recap today of where you can’t hike, where you can hike but maybe shouldn’t, and where you should hike.
Where you can’t hike
Initially, visitor centers, restrooms, camping and cabins were closed. Now, many trails are being closed as well.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The entire park, with two small exceptions, closed March 24, and will remain closed at least through April 6.
Usually on Fridays, our GetOut! feature highlights the guided hikes and other outdoor outings for the weekend. But, these being unusual times, there are no guided hikes or other organized outdoor outings. Instead, this week we encourage you to get out and explore your own neighborhood.
Now, the outdoor world begins to shrink.
A week ago, trails were open. The outdoors were seen as the last open sanctuary to escape The Virus. Then, over the weekend, many of the more popular trail venues drew crowds that made staying 6 or 10 feet apart from one another near impossible. Sunday evening, North Carolina announced that four of its State Parks were closing, two recreation areas were restricting access. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which had already closed certain areas, followed suit, announcing that the park was shutting down, trails included. The number of North Carolina State Parks that are completely closed has since grown to 15 (see the list below).
Sunday evening, North Carolina State Parks posted a notice that four parks — Crowders Mountain, Hanging Rock, Lake Waccamaw and Raven Rock — were closed as of sunset. By morning, that post was already outdated, with Morrow Mountains State Park joining the list.