Dallas officials say overcrowding may lead to the closing of city’s parks, trails

DividerPress Release

March 29, 2020

Contact: Andrea Hawkins / (817) 994-2498) / andrea.hawkins@dallascityhall.com

Note to media: Dallas Park and Recreation staff are available for on-camera/phone interviews today. Contact Andrea Hawkins at (817) 994-2498.

Dallas Park and Recreation officials say overcrowding may lead to the closing of city’s parks and trails

(DALLAS) – Dallas parks and trails are overcrowded despite shelter-at-home ordinances and social distancing rules being in effect. Dallas Park and Recreation officials said they are observing that park and trail users are not adhering to required social distancing rules.

To help alleviate overcrowding that is prohibiting social distances at city parks, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department is taking steps to limit the public’s access to parks with barricades at many entrances and limited vehicular traffic. Officials said two popular parks are experiencing the most increased usage - Katy Trail and White Rock Lake.

Park Rangers are monitoring parks and trail usage to ensure compliance with the six-feet safe distance requirement. The city’s Code Enforcement and Parking Enforcement Departments and the Dallas Marshall’s Office will assist Dallas Park and Recreation with enforcement.

Park officials said overcrowding at city parks and trails could force the department to close all trails and 397 parks. Park officials said they are prepared to take this drastic step immediately if the public will not voluntarily comply with social distancing requirements.

“We encourage you to stay at home even though we recognize the mental and physical benefits of outdoor exercise and fresh air. While at the parks, we want visitors to practice social distancing of at least six feet. We want residents to walk or cycle to their neighborhood park and protect themselves by following social distancing. Closing parks and trails is the last step we will take for everyone's safety,” said John D. Jenkins, Dallas Park and Recreation Interim Director.