3 simple ways to be a sensible park visitor while social distancing

3 simple ways to be a sensible park visitor while social distancing

SA’s nation­al parks are open dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, but you need to be sen­si­ble when vis­it­ing. Here’s how.

The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has cer­tain­ly changed our way of life for the time being. Social dis­tanc­ing rules, an essen­tial part of con­trol­ling the spread, have lim­it­ed our pur­suit of reg­u­lar recre­ation­al and social activities.

If you’re the out­doors type or a new vis­i­tor just look­ing to get off the couch and out of the house, take heart in know­ing that the state’s nation­al parks remain open, as long as you fol­low the nec­es­sary social dis­tanc­ing regulations.

1. Find a park

The mes­sage is sim­ple – it’s good for your phys­i­cal and men­tal health to get out into parks, expe­ri­ence the fresh air and con­nect with nature.

Check the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Aus­tralia web­site to find a park that’s close to you, or one that has the kinds of expe­ri­ences you love. You can fil­ter parks based on expe­ri­ences such as kayak­ing, walk­ing and moun­tain bik­ing, get the lat­est infor­ma­tion about the park and down­load walk­ing trail maps.

2. Be crowd conscious

Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Aus­tralia has been delight­ed to wel­come new and return­ing vis­i­tors over the past few months. Park rangers have noticed that the num­ber of peo­ple vis­it­ing for exer­cise remains strong and that peo­ple are doing the right thing in fol­low­ing COVID-19 restrictions.

While you might be itch­ing to get out and about to stretch your legs, be smart about it. If you get to your local park and see a few too many cars or peo­ple around, mak­ing it poten­tial­ly more dif­fi­cult to main­tain social dis­tanc­ing, con­sid­er com­ing back at anoth­er time or try­ing anoth­er park that’s also in your local area.

3. Pick the wider path

If you want some good options for walk­ing trails with wider tracks, so you can remain sep­a­rate from oth­er park vis­i­tors while still enjoy­ing the out­doors, you’re in luck. These are some great options:

  • The Yure­bil­la Trail through Black Hill and Mori­al­ta con­ser­va­tion parks is main­ly on wide fire tracks with infor­ma­tive direc­tion­al sig­nage in place. The trail enters into Black Hill off Mon­ta­cute Road after leav­ing Mori­al­ta Con­ser­va­tion Park. Down­load a park map to your smart­phone before you go.
  • The Buffer Zone Track in Black Hill Con­ser­va­tion Park is anoth­er less-used wide track. The track com­mences at the vis­i­tor carpark off Addi­son Avenue or from the admin­is­tra­tion cen­tre on Mary­vale Road. Down­load a park map to your smart­phone before you go.
  • The Tree Creep­er Loop in Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park has been designed and con­struct­ed as a shared use trail. This means that it’s for both cyclists and walk­ers to use togeth­er. Please be respect­ful and give way to oth­er trail users. Get there via the Wild Dog Creek carpark, east of Para Wirra Dri­ve and just south of Wirra Road. Down­load a park map to your smart­phone before you go.
  • The Scenic Loop in Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park is also a shared use trail. Access the walk from the Gawler View Pic­nic Area. Down­load a park map to your smart­phone before you go.

Dogs in the park

With a lot of walk­ers out and about it’s a good time to remind peo­ple that while dogs are allowed in cer­tain parks in SA, includ­ing some of Adelaide’s most pop­u­lar, like Belair, Onka­paringa Riv­er and Para Wirra, they must remain on des­ig­nat­ed walk­ing trails and be on a lead under your con­trol at all times.

These restric­tions are in place to not only pro­tect native flo­ra and fau­na, but to keep your dog free from harm. 

There is one off-leash nation­al park, Black­wood For­est Recre­ation Park, locat­ed in Black­wood. There are nice walk­ing trails through the pine for­est and grassy fields as well as love­ly views to enjoy. Even though it’s an off-leash area your dog must still remain under effec­tive control.

You’ll need to bring dis­pos­able bags to clean up your dog’s poo and take all lit­ter with you when you leave as there are no bins in nation­al parks. Thanks for being a respon­si­ble dog own­er and leav­ing the park as you found it.

For extra info about dogs in nation­al parks, go to thenation­al parks web­site. To learn about oth­er ways to con­nect with nature while social dis­tanc­ing, read our sto­ries aboutideas in your own back­yard.

Main image: Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living