No more South Mountain hiking! What’s a nature lover to do?

Any ideas where one can go for a hike: 1) in an approximation of nature, 2) manage the social distancing recommendations, 3) without driving 40 minutes?




Sad_Dog said:

Any ideas where one can go for a hike: 1) in an approximation of nature, 2) manage the social distancing recommendations, 3) without driving 40 minutes?



 When I checked last, Watchung Reservation was still open.


patriot's path in morristown and dismal harmony in brookside (mendham twp) as of today. Maybe Loantaka in Morris Twp., great swamp for sure 2 weeks ago (but probably too swampy now), green village trailhead had 1 car on it 2 weeks ago.


Is South Mountain Reservation closed? It was open 2 days ago.


STANV said:

Is South Mountain Reservation closed? It was open 2 days ago.

 Closed now to car access.


Great Swamp is closed.

Barriers are up at the Glenside entrance. Dozens of cars were parked in the lot next to the library. People were walking across the street to Locust Grove.

This strategy is assholic. People that would have gone to Crescent Drive or the falls, will now go to locust Grove. Social Distancing will now be more difficult.

When I walked Crescent and climbed to the top from Locust, social distance was honored. There were instances where it wasn't but those were almost clearly family groups who shared space in their house


Maybe it's a bad idea to be going to these places.  Maybe a nature lover has to scale back to being a back yard lover for a while.  I'm a book lover, but not no libraries or bookstores for me for a while.


Unless there's a risk in momentarily passing hikers going in the opposite direction - maybe there is, I don't know - these are pretty easy places to maintain social distancing.  I've been to Watchung a few times since this started.  Not quite as big as SMR but around 1900 acres with lots of trails.  Except for, again, the fleeting contact with a passing hiker, you never have to come close to anyone else.  I suppose that never leaving the house gives you the best odds for safety but big parks like these seem to be at least as as safe as walking around the block.  Also, you could drive to more distant county or state parks.  One friend told me he went to a park in Morris County and nobody was there.

That said, if Joe D. is funneling people to the always crowded SMR Glen  Ave. lot, that needs to change.  Either the whole thing stays open or the whole thing stays closed.


Joe D has the virus, he’s not going anywhere. Essex County sheriff also has the virus. 


I guess the question goes to either county commission or is there a separate park commission?


Wonder if you can walk up from Claremont and run the paved path . 


What happened to stay home unless you have an emergency/essential need like getting food, prescription medication, going to a doctor's appointment, or working in an essential occupation such as health care, emergency response, or providing/delivering food.  Even if you don't care about your own health, please express concern for those around you.  Nature programming and virtual park/garden tours may not be an acceptable alternative for most but they help for now.

 


My understanding is that walking or running outside is included in the list of activities recommended. Going to South Mountain seemed less riskier and was my antidote to the newly stressful act of grocery store shopping. Balancing the needs of my physical and mental health is now a trickier tightrope act. My grateful thanks to folks with positive input and advice.


joan_crystal said:

What happened to stay home unless you have an emergency/essential need like getting food, prescription medication, going to a doctor's appointment, or working in an essential occupation such as health care, emergency response, or providing/delivering food.  Even if you don't care about your own health, please express concern for those around you.  Nature programming and virtual park/garden tours may not be an acceptable alternative for most but they help for now.

 

Agreed. We should all be behaving as if we are infected and don’t know it yet AND as if we are uninfected and at risk of death if infected.  A decade or so ago I spent five weeks in the hospital (including ICU) with pneumonia and sepsis, and would move mountains not to do it again. 

At our house that means that, for now, the rules go beyond just six foot distancing, and also include practicing an extra layer of ER avoidance.  We’ll do without brisket for Passover rather than make a trip out to another store to try to find a kosher one. We won’t drive to parks or to see the cherry blossoms and risk an accident that would require contact with police or EMTs. We won’t undertake special home renovation projects that increase our risk of needing stitches (or Home Depot runs). A friend just mentioned buying an anti-cut kitchen glove for her klutzy-chef daughter.

So we walk the dog, hang out in the yard and screen porch, work, play board games, watch movies together, and defer a lot of other things, at least until the hospitals are out of crisis.

Last night I saw the first obituary (Village Green, I believe) for someone I knew. David Hoganauer, who was a pillar of Prospect Presbyterian, South Mountain Conservancy, CHS, IHN, etc., dead of presumed COVID, at the nursing home where he was recovering from a fall. My thoughts go out to his friends and family.
 


The South Mountain Conservancy has a tribute to Dave Hogenauer whom you accurately described as a pillar of that and many other organizations, and a very friendly, interesting man to boot. The SMC is publishing his book about the reservation's history this spring.

https://www.somocon.org/


Sad_Dog said:

My understanding is that walking or running outside is included in the list of activities recommended. Going to South Mountain seemed less riskier and was my antidote to the newly stressful act of grocery store shopping. Balancing the needs of my physical and mental health is now a trickier tightrope act. My grateful thanks to folks with positive input and advice.

 Walking or running outside has been included in the list of activities recommended.  Walking or running in South Mountain Reservation which was closed by the County several days ago is not.  Recommendation is to avoid parks and other popular public gathering spots until the contagion is under control. 

I take daily walks around the neighborhood or garden in the back yard. (Rake out in Maplewood starts tomorrow.) On a nice day like yesterday, I saw quite a few people out.  All were able to and did practice social distancing given the wide streets/sidewalks and level yards. Less traveled streets are probably the best outdoor space to occupy for now if you have the need for exercise and fresh air.

From the South Mountain Conservancy website:

COVID-19 CRISIS CLOSES RESERVATION:
ALL SMC ACTIVITIES ARE CANCELED

Given the growing number of cases in the area, the County has closed all parks and reservations to reduce the spread of the virus. For this same reason, SMC is canceling all its volunteer and hiking programs until further notice.


sorry to hear this 

Dave and Claire were our neighbors for many years before they moved 


The paved walking path at crest view drive is much wider than any sidewalk in town, and has zero traffic so one can easily give 12’ of distance when passing someone.  When walking on the sidewalk to even give 6’ of distance one of the two parties would need to step into traffic

I agree with playgrounds and other congregation areas like the dog park being closed, but wide open paved paths like crest view drive should be an exception 

The path around the small lake at the Boathouse is questionable since it isn’t wide enough to easily allow groups to pass each other while maintaining a safe distance 


The paved path at Cherry Lane, the one that is across the street from the regatta play ground, is also very wide having once been meant for vehicle traffic.  That is another one that should be allowed to remain open.

Rather than a blanket closure they should have looked at specific areas and decided on a case by case scenario
 


I think part of the problem with the parks was not the trails but the picnic areas and gatherings there.  I also believe there are other Essex County parks that are in more densely populated areas which did not allow for the spacing that the trails in the reservation did and so a ruling had to be made that took all the parks into account.


The Watchung Reservation isn't a good park for social distancing.  When we were there last week on a pleasant day, it was overrun with people, many of them oblivious to the social distancing requirement.  The trails can get pretty narrow, and I had to run off the path and circle around a tree to avoid some hikers who came tromping toward me.  It's a shame that the Reservation has been closed.  Until we became aware of the closure, we were hiking on the wide trails on its west side and easily kept our distance from other hikers.  


That's the problem, of course.  People are drawn to these spots, and while you have plenty of space one minute, the next you don't.  And that's really all it takes.


Sorry to hear about Dave - here's an interview I did with him awhile back:


STANV said:

Is South Mountain Reservation closed? It was open 2 days ago.

All Essex County parks, including the Reservation, have been closed since March 16th.


Formerlyjerseyjack said:

Great Swamp is closed.

Barriers are up at the Glenside entrance. Dozens of cars were parked in the lot next to the library. People were walking across the street to Locust Grove.

This strategy is assholic. People that would have gone to Crescent Drive or the falls, will now go to locust Grove. Social Distancing will now be more difficult.

When I walked Crescent and climbed to the top from Locust, social distance was honored. There were instances where it wasn't but those were almost clearly family groups who shared space in their house

Why are you in the reservation when it's closed?  Rules don't apply to you?


joan_crystal said:

....  Recommendation is to avoid parks and other popular public gathering spots until the contagion is under control. 


 and towards this goal, the state of New Jersey keeps its parks open.


bub said:

Unless there's a risk in momentarily passing hikers going in the opposite direction - maybe there is, I don't know - these are pretty easy places to maintain social distancing.  I've been to Watchung a few times since this started.  Not quite as big as SMR but around 1900 acres with lots of trails.  Except for, again, the fleeting contact with a passing hiker, you never have to come close to anyone else.  I suppose that never leaving the house gives you the best odds for safety but big parks like these seem to be at least as as safe as walking around the block.  Also, you could drive to more distant county or state parks.  One friend told me he went to a park in Morris County and nobody was there.

That said, if Joe D. is funneling people to the always crowded SMR Glen  Ave. lot, that needs to change.  Either the whole thing stays open or the whole thing stays closed.

 The whole thing is closed.  People are not following the County's guidelines.


People, South Mountain Reservation is closed.  Just because there isn't a barrier blocking every single place you could go doesn't mean it's not closed.  Selfish sh#t like going there anyway will just keep us stuck at home longer.  Don't be a jerk, stay away.


In England they are talking about banning all outside activities because some people are flouting the guidelines. This actually happened in Italy.


bottom line: We could lose our ability to walk in our neighborhoods because people are ignoring the rules. Please do not encourage this kind of draconian rule. Do not be a jerk.


This thread is a perfect example of privilege.

We're in a damn serious pandemic.

We're trying to limit outside contact, so public parks are closed.

Deal with it. Take a walk around the block instead.

jeebus. c'mon people



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