Opportunities to celebrate Take a Walk in the Park Day are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as many local, county, state and national parks are closed or have limited activities to discourage crowds and gatherings that make it difficult or impossible to practice social distancing.
Aqua Pennsylvania, which has a history of partnering with local, county and state government to make its land available for recreational use, is suggesting that those who might ordinarily celebrate this day by walking through some of these recreational parks and forests, take these walks in their own neighborhoods if it is possible to do so while continuing to practice social distancing.
"We know that many of the parks are closed due to COVID-19, but some people, depending on where they live, might be able to transition their celebration of Take a Walk in the Park Day by walking through their own neighborhoods," said Aqua Pennsylvania President Marc Lucca. "With so many people self-quarantining and spending more time at home, this is a great day to make it a point to get out of the house and walk through your own neighborhood."
Take a Walk in the Park Day was created to encourage nature walks away from pollution from cars and dust and enjoy the physical and mental benefits associated with walking.
Lucca cited three recreational parks and trails connected to Aqua Pennsylvania.
- The 4-billion-gallon Green Lane Reservoir in Montgomery County with an area of more than 800 acres is Aqua’s largest, where a large fishing and boating operation is managed by Montgomery County Parks and Recreation. The reservoir is surrounded by some 3,400 acres of parks and trails.
- Aqua donated nearly 30 acres of land to East Bradford Township along the East Branch Brandywine Creek near Aqua’s Ingram’s Mill Water Treatment Plant to preserve as open space as part of Aqua’s watershed preservation effort. In addition to ensuring that the land would not be developed, the donation extended a corridor of open space along the Brandywine Creek in East Bradford Township to provide for a public trail easement through the property as well as a corridor for wildlife and passive recreation.
- Aqua worked with The Conservation Fund and the Mellon Foundation to ensure a 9,000-acre tract of woodlands in Northumberland and Columbia counties remained protected while granting first-time public access for residents to hike, hunt, fish, canoe, bike and watch wildlife. The land contains several reservoirs, ranging up to 266 acres, as well as a large swath of uninterrupted woodlands. The Conservation Fund acquired part of the tract from Aqua and another part of the tract was donated by Aqua to the Conservation Fund. The collective tracts—which at the time were the second largest addition to state forestland in at least 10 years— were donated by the Conservation Fund to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which made it part of commonwealth’s forest system as Weiser State Forest. Aqua maintains ownership of the reservoirs, permits some recreational activities thereon while limiting some others to protect the water supply and watershed.
- Aqua’s Churchville Reservoir in Bucks County is a neighbor to the Churchville Nature Center, which includes trails and hosts environmental education programs to help preserve the areas natural beauty.
Lucca said that anyone who decides to celebrate Take a Walk in the Park by walking in their neighborhoods, should adhere to all municipal, county or state requirements related to COVID-19, particularly those associated with social distancing, hand-washing and other hygiene practices.
Aqua Pennsylvania provides drinking water and wastewater services to approximately 1.4 million people in 32 counties throughout Pennsylvania. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.