Parks and Recreations During COVID-19 Outbreak

The MTRPA is sending out a big THANK YOU to our state, federal, and local Montana parks and recreation departments and agencies for quickly adapting and acting to keep our public healthy and mentally sane during the COVID-19 outbreak!

MTRPA Board Highlights Departments Around The State

MTRPA Board of Directors met via Zoom on April 20th to discuss changes to our annual conference, ways the state has been affected by the outbreak, and plans moving forward. While our annual conference planed for April 19th – 22nd was officially cancelled in March, we continue to work toward alternatives to gather parks and recreation professionals across Montana this year at MLCT 2020. The board also discussed how each department is handling the changes differently. Here are some highlights from around the state:

City of Whitefish Parks & Recreation
Livingston Parks & Recreation
  • Created a hashtag movement #LivingstonVirtualRec with activities using social media including teddy “Bear Hunt” and “Movement Bingo” and other challenges for the community to take part in together.
Montana State Parks
  • Continually posting updates on-line about response, closures, and re-openings at http://stateparks.mt.gov/about-us/updates/default.html
  • Most state park campgrounds opened May 1st with reduced amenities/services and social distancing guidelines.
  • 14 day quarantine signage posted at campgrounds for of out of state visitors.
  • All visitor centers and park offices remain closed in compliance with the Governor’s social distancing directives.
Billings Parks and Recreation
  • Removed basketball hoops and tennis nets.
  • Billings’ “Parks’ Policeman” increased enforcement to support safe parks.
Bozeman Parks & Recreation
  • Closed and signed all playgrounds, climbing boulders, and skate parks.
  • Signed popular parks, trailheads and dog parks about appropriate usage during COVID-19
  • Partnered with United Way to utilize closed recreation facilities for essential employee emergency day-care
  • Created a virtual (Facebook and Instagram) neighborhood park highlight.  Three days/week a different park employee does a 60 second neighborhood park highlight to showcase walkability and remind residents about proper park and trail usage during the outbreak.
  • Staying engaged through virtual programing such as a virtual eater egg hunt and a virtual “camp in”
Missoula Parks & Recreation
  • Split maintenance crew into two groups to reduce chance infection of the whole crew.
  • Ambassador program to educate about physical distancing in parks.
  • Using Facebook Ads to reach the community about the importance of physical distancing in parks and educating about our fragile ecosystem.

What is your department doing to keep your community safe?

Every city/county has different Emergency Response Activation Levels. There are no two parks and recreation departments that are applying the exact same procedures as every area has had to react differently. Have you had success or failures implementing restrictions or preparing to reopen in your area? Please share with us.

Parks & Recreation COVID-19 Resources

We have gathered some resources for you and your staff to reference. Please share with anyone.

Signage

Park, Facility and Playground Resources

Aquatics Resources

See more resources from NRPA at https://www.nrpa.org/our-work/Three-Pillars/health-wellness/coronavirus-disease-2019/

Again, MTRPA is sending out a big THANK YOU to our state, federal, and local Montana parks and recreation departments and agencies for quickly adapting and acting to keep our public healthy and mentally sane during the COVID-19 outbreak!

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