King County Parks: Coronavirus Update

We will use the Plog, Facebook and Twitter, and e-newsletters to keep you up-to-date about any changes in Parks’ operations.

UPDATE 04/3/2020, 1 p.m. 

King County Parks closing more facilities in response to COVID-19; visitors urged to ‘Stay home, stay healthy’

As part of its ongoing efforts to protect public health and curb transmission of COVID-19, King County Parks is closing parks Wednesday, March 25. Parking lot and trailhead gates will be locked, and restrooms will be closed. King County does not have the resources at this time to actively enforce Parks closures and social distancing guidelines and will rely upon the public to follow the guidelines.

The closure comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which included guidance to further restrict groups from gatherings. 

We ask that everyone respect parks closures and refrain from using King County parks, including regional and backcountry trails. We are unable to physically block off all entrances to parks and trails. We appreciate our park users helping us slow the spread of this virus and their patience as we work through this challenging time. King County also urges visitors to not park illegally on roadways near parks and trails, or block park gates.

Question and Answers

Q: If I can walk to a King County park or trail, can I still use it?

A: We ask that everyone respect parks closures and refrain from using King County parks, including regional and backcountry trails. We are unable to physically block off all entrances to parks and trails. We appreciate our park users’ efforts to help us reduce the risks of spreading this virus and their patience as we work through this challenging time.

King County also urges visitors to not park illegally on roadways near parks and trails, or block park gates. King County Sheriff’s deputies will be conducting extra patrols to help deter improper parking near locked park gates. 

Q: Can the Regional trails be used by essential workforce employees and for essential tasks?

If an individual is part of the essential workforce and needs to commute for work or needs to accomplish essential tasks by using the King County Parks regional trail network (i.e. grocery store, doctors appointment, etc.) they are allowed to do so. Individuals who use trails for these purposes should follow social distancing guidelines and our standard trail rules and etiquette.

Non-essential use of the RTS remains closed as part of the ongoing efforts to protect public health and curb transmission of COVID-19.

Q: How are you enforcing these closures?  

A: We do not have the resources to actively enforce parks and trails closures. We are unable to physically block off all entrances to parks and trails. 

We are relying on residents to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus and help save lives by abiding by these closures and all social distancing guidelines. 

This is a measure that requires everyone’s cooperation. We can’t erect physical boundaries to close off all of our facilities, and instead will use signage, social media platforms and other communication channels to encourage compliance with social distancing guidance. 

Q: How long are these closures?

A: In response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, parks will be closed until at least May 4. 

Q: Are all King County Parks closed?

Yes. All King County Parks facilities are closed. This includes popular areas such as:

  • Off leash dog park at Marymoor
  • Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park
  • Campground at Tolt MacDonald Park

Q: Does this closure include trails like the Snoqualmie Valley trail and other regional trails? 

A: Yes. We ask that all residents respect parks closures and refrain from using King County parks and regional trails. We are unable to physically block off all entrances to parks and trails, but are asking for your help in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives by abiding by these closures. 

Additional Information

On March 20, King County Parks closed all active spaces within parks – including play areas, ballfields, sports courts, and picnic shelters, where appropriate social distancing guidelines would be difficult to maintain.

King County Parks visitors are encouraged to practice Public Health’s guidelines in preventing the spread of this virus: 

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others. 
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.


Visit kingcounty.gov/covid to learn more about the virus and how to prevent its spread. Keep updated on the latest developments on the Public Health – Seattle & King County blog at publichealthinsider.com

Other resources

54 comments

  • I think this goes too far. You should not be closing hiking trails. People need to get out and exercise, and the risk is low. I am disappointed in King County Parks.

  • KC just closed the entire Cedar River Trail this morning. We have been exercising on this trail every day since the shut down and have been practicing social distancing on our runs and bike rides. Most of the trail is in rural areas except near Renton, and follows the old RR on SR169 along the Cedar River. We live in Maple Valley. I have never seen anyone abuse or disregard the social distancing practice recommended on this trail. It’s not like people congregate on the trail or have parties!! Nor have I seen any groups of people except for some obvious family members closer than 6′. Almost all people are on the trail to exercise, and abide by the rules. Now we are forced onto streets which probably are more dangerous. I think there should be some common sense regarding trail use as an area of exercise. How healthy is it not to allow people to safely exercise?? I am all for the shut down to harness the spread of COVID-19, but KC should use some common sense regarding exercise trails, especially in rural areas. Does this seem unreasonable!!

  • This is INSANE! Show me one case, anywhere in the World where someone got Coronavirus (or any disease) by passing a person on a trail! Just one case! If the County wants to put up signs about Social Distancing and/or require everyone to wear masks, fine, but closing the trails is insane! This is PUBLIC land, so let the public use it.

  • This is INSANE! Show me one case, anywhere in the world, where someone got Coronavirus (or any other disease) from passing someone on a hiking trail! If you want to put up signs reminding people to keep their distance OR requiring everyone to wear a mask, fine, but closing trails is totally insane.

  • I have daughters who are wild land firefighters. They need to hike to be prepared for summer firefighting. Not sure the wildfires will get the memo to stay at home…Could their hiking be considered essential?

  • Does this mean that Cougar Mountain is closed? Does anyone know?

  • Amidst park closures, why are employees continuing as “business as usual”. My guess is management is staying at home adhering to the “stay at home” order but maintenance workers are still being told to show up every day. Where is the logic there? I would hope KCP would set a good example to limit all employee’s exposure and give people the flexibility and option to work from home (even maintenance workers have office duties) and reduce field hours. As someone who worked for Parks once upon a time, I’m very disappointed in KCP leadership – they do not appear to be putting their employee’s safety first. 👎🏻

  • It would be helpful if you could put a list here of what parks and trails you are closing. Especially trails. I don’t know which ones are “regional and backcountry,” and I haven’t seen any signs posted at entrances to trails I usually ride on, saying that they are closed.

  • “Let’s just close everything no matter how great the impact on people’s well-being and how minimal the impact on virus spread” So. Freaking. Stupid.

  • Who takes responsibility for closing the parks? Are the King County Parks being closed in order for 5G tower installation to happen in the parks without the public’s knowledge or consent?

  • Sent this story, KC Parks slow, irresponsible, park closure along with photo proof they are censoring comments of the truth and what the public can see to the New York Times. Also noted that even though Parks is closed, Parks is making it clear the closure will not be enforced essentially encouraging people to go against the Governor’s stay at home orders. Maybe should have just posted my comment…

  • Yup, they censored me. Took my comment, the truth totally away. Have it copied and saved for anyone wanting to know the truth. Darabbit4u@gmail.com for the truth.

  • It’s breathe of fresh air to see the logical people putting blame where it belongs on this Blog. Your KC Parks fieldworkers have been fighting hard, begging Dow and Christie True, DNRP head of spreading coronavirus, for at least 2 weeks to no avail. Yes, they are out exposing themselves while EVERYONE else in the Parks offices have been safely at home. Like the true salt of the earth people they are, they’ve been fighting hard for you, the public with more thought to you than their safety this late in the game. While having to worry about the very real retaliation that exists from KC Parks management if they speak out. They are terrified for your very lives. Yes, these are family people with kids that they need to be around for to guide growing up. Yes, they have family in the “danger” groups. Some are themselves in the danger group just by age. No, they have no choice being at work. They can use vacation, sick leave, and comp time during this time. But KC Parks workers are a tight knit group of people not inclined to abandon their posts or their peers (friends) to go this alone. And they need their off days saved to deal with possible fallout of corona in their own families. What our KC Park workers need right, today, is your total support to help keep them safe as they’ve fought for your safety. Please stay at home!!! You are putting them at risk being in the Parks, on the trails. We have an award winning Parks system that is understaffed. Many, many projects have to be pushed to the side to the daily maintenance needed. Let’s give them this time to use to get those projects done, get everything caught up, without it costing their or a loved ones lives. They are after all doing it for us, the public. Stop whining about swim meets and tennis. You’re making yourselves sound very ignorant. The Governor said, “STAY HOME”. Not “but it’s ok to play tennis, disc golf, swim meets”. What are you missing here?! Continue to put the blame where it belongs, Christie True. While everyone else in the chain up responded to my 2011 complaint of bullying, intimidation, and abuse of females in KC Parks, Christie True totally blew my complaint off, never responding. Supports females in her care being abused at work while protecting the creepy men doing it. Very nicely done Christie! She needs to go and go now rather than later. Well, there goes my chances of being hired ever again by KC Parks because I speak the truth. Yes, KC Parks is still hiring seasonals during this. I have the email to prove it as I’ve applied this year. Who would you rather work for you in Parks? People brave enough to put the truth out there or Christie False?! Kudos to the KC Parks workers for caring for your patrons when no one else in authority does! Well done!! Kirsten Chapman, you showed me once the stellar, classy lady you are when you came in and cleaned up Gary’s mess. Show me again! Keep my baby and friends safe first. Now let’s see if Parks censors my comment breaking our Amendment rights because Christie False doesn’t want the truth known.

  • Seems unfortunate that we can’t even ride our bikes on the trails . . .not even the extremely rural, very lightly-trafficked Snoqualmie Valley Trail.., where even on a warm sunny summer weekend you might have a density of no more than 10 bicyclists per mile. What you will effectively do is force bicyclists out onto roads and highways, which increases the danger. During coronavirus time, we all need exercise and outside time for our physical and mental health. Being outdoors is good for us, and may be bad for viruses. So long as people “social distance”, keep the trails open!

    • To preface, I was strict about social distancing from the start, at a time when people would still roll their eyes at you for suggesting the need. Point being, I respect the need for social distancing.

      That said, it seems the rules for closures should be about not fostering an environment where social distancing is not maintained, such as gatherings of people who aren’t already sheltering in place together.

      I’m not certain why large grass or sidewalk-like areas of relatively empty parks cannot be used as we’re being told can occur with normal public sidewalks. I don’t disagree in closing certain things like park bathrooms, high risk trails, or cancelling large gatherings… but I’m surrounded by lush empty grassy areas that I cannot use all while I’m allowed to use public sidewalks surrounding these closed areas.

      Maybe there’s wisdom to this, maybe it’s temp, until we get our bearings, but here is my small +1 vote that we consider what may be opportunities for more intricately calibrated closures, allowing for some sensible usage of our great lands.

      To be clear, I wouldn’t suggest any reduction in level/type of closure if it were to mean inducing avoidable serious risk to park employees or attendees.

    • I just posted that KC just closed the Cedar River Trail. My post was similar to yours. I just noticed they removed it. Are you kidding me!!!

  • I agree up to the point of the closing of regional trails. With a 10′ wide trail and a low use trail like the Green River Trail social distancing is easy. And since it’s been clearly stated there will be no enforcement only law abiding people will obey. As such, the people who were not social distancing before will go anyway and people like myself will now be stuck riding on the road for exercise. What’s accomplished by closing regional trails? Nothing.

  • I truly don’t understand why walking trails in my neighborhood should be closed. I hardly ever see others on the trail; I am simply taking a nature walk. When I see others, we wave from a distance and stay more than six feet apart. We all need a break from our crowded homes full of kids, spouses’ working. We don’t make much impact, and it has made this time tolerable. I protest!

    • Who do you expect to maintain these trails, garbage, dog poop, etc…

  • The governor specifically acknowledged citizens need for physical and mental health by allowing them to go for a walk, exercise, etc while still maintaining social distancing. Closing all trails is the opposite of the Governor’s guidance. Fully support closing bathrooms and playground equipment, but trails are extremely low risk for contact and spreading the virus.

  • Looking for clarity please. It seems you are saying that the parks are closed, except for…. so if we have a pea patch at Marymoore and can maintain social distancing, are we allowed to work our plots? Probably also asked by dog park users. Thanks.

  • We live in an apartment with no outdoor space and a young, energetic 7 year old. We have a view of the park and take him there when we see it is empty. We do things like frisbee, or playing with our ball, in the big grassy field far from any other people. We don’t use the picnic tables or playgrounds or anything like that. Is this still allowed under these new rules? We walk there, of course. Thanks!

  • Does this mean trails such as the Interurban, Sammamish, Burke-Gilman and Snoqualmie Valley, too?

  • So can I still ride my bike on trails in a king county park if i ride from home? I know parking lots are closed but can i still ride to the trails?

  • Hi,

    I fully support the move for stronger social distancing measures. However, I am a bit unclear of the on the wording here:

    “While visitors will still be able to walk into parks and back country trails and walk and bike on the regional trail network, King County is asking all residents to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus and help save lives by abiding by these closures and all social distancing guidelines.”

    Does this mean that I can walk through the park as long as social distance is maintained?

    Thanks in advance for clarifying.

  • I live in Seattle. Im asking Parks and Health to post or share information about their building of temporary facilities on parks fields/land so that other cities and towns looking to your response and leadership can get a blueprint as they catch up. Suppliers, plans, protocols. I just received a call from a family member in Atlanta who works in the construction field and they are trying to figure all that out very quickly. If you’re able to post about those activities and be transparent about it you could help other cities and counties nationwide. Thank you.

  • Just drove by Lake Geneva park in Auburn I counted 50 cars parked along the road by the fields. Both fields had multiple volleyball nets set up with several dozen players.
    I have seen some sort of volleyball league using the fields in the past. I assume it is the same group.
    It is very reckless of them to congregate in such numbers, clearly in violation of using the park right now.

  • There’s still a bunch of kids playing on the playground at Petrovitsky Park, and bigger groups of kids and adults “hanging around”. PLEASE shut it down!!! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 My kid wants to play outside too, but we’re not letting her right now. It’s too risky!!! PLEASE SHUT DOWN MORE PUBLIC AREAS 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  • great leadership by whoever makes the decisions for kcp, Lets do the bare minimum and make the spread worse to placate a few. I agree with others on this post that the cities within King County that have taken the steps needed already are the real leaders of the region. Now is not the time to wait if we want to protect our community members, especially the more vulnerable ones. The park users are the main ones not listening to the warnings and flock to the parks & trails increasing the risks to us all. Just look at Seattle last night and the Alki fiasco. We all need to come together and sacrifice for others at this time of need, INCLUDING the management of KC Parks who have done a horrible job so far. Wake up, protect your workers and the communities we all live in. Us votes will remember the lack of action at election time.

  • I see it as foolish to remaining to keep parks and trails open when the PPE supplies i am sure your work crews use to keep the parks open could be better used and is needed by the healthcare industry. We will get over not having our parks and trails open for a while in exchange for not helping spread the virus and hopefully having much needed supplies go to a bigger cuase.

  • Comments from “Next Door Neighbor”……

    5 mile park packed!

    Just passed 5 mile park and you would think it was a normal summer day!! I thought the parks were closed?

    New1 hr ago · 37 neighborhoods in General

    5 mile park packed!

    Just passed 5 mile park and you would think it was a normal summer day!! I thought the parks were closed?

    New1 hr ago · 37 neighborhoods in General

    Don’t understand why people don’t get it 😔
    1 hr ago
    Thank

    And this is why the governor will make us shelter in place because people don’t listen.
    1 hr ago

    Lucy Robinson, Jovita Blvd ENew

    “Shelter in place” is a term for emergencies like an active shooter. I wish the media would not use it. It’s more like “Stay at home.” One carrier at the park could create dozens of vectors. Makes me sick people are so careless.
    57 min ago
    Thank

    Jane David, Regency WoodsNew

    I just drove past on my way home from a dog walk (out in a place with no other people in close proximity, like we are supposed to do). There were still lots of young guys there at 5:30, playing close contact basketball, volleyball, sitting in groups on picnic tables, hanging out in close proximity in the parking lot talking about their ridiculous cars, etc. I don’t understand why theparking lot gates weren’t locked. It is just infuriating. I wanted to scream “Go Home!!!!!” to all of them.
    12 min ago
    Thank

    Yup! That’s exactly what I saw. If they would have closed the gates no one would be there
    11 min ago
    Thank

    Time to get the County involved to implement State mandates.
    8 min ago

    Should be!
    1 hr ago
    Thank

    Don’t understand why people don’t get it 😔
    1 hr ago
    Thank

    Reply

    And this is why the governor will make us shelter in place because people don’t listen.
    1 hr ago
    Thank

    “Shelter in place” is a term for emergencies like an active shooter. I wish the media would not use it. It’s more like “Stay at home.” One carrier at the park could create dozens of vectors. Makes me sick people are so careless.
    57 min ago
    Thank

    I just drove past on my way home from a dog walk (out in a place with no other people in close proximity, like we are supposed to do). There were still lots of young guys there at 5:30, playing close contact basketball, volleyball, sitting in groups on picnic tables, hanging out in close proximity in the parking lot talking about their ridiculous cars, etc. I don’t understand why theparking lot gates weren’t locked. It is just infuriating. I wanted to scream “Go Home!!!!!” to all of them.
    12 min ago
    Thank

    Yup! That’s exactly what I saw. If they would have closed the gates no one would be there
    11 min ago

    Time to get the County involved to implement State mandates.
    8 min ago

  • The City of Woodinville closed their parks and restrooms on 3/14 to better protect their residents and send the message to anyone that did not get the message and to stay home unless really needed. Also the City of Sea Tac closed all of their parks on Monday 3/16 as well. Looks like they are also the leaders of the county not King County. It is hard to go and even use hiking trails when the trail heads are over crowded and no room on the trails to practice social distancing. The parks themselves are a mess with picnic groups, groups playing. and no one seeming to care about about keeping each other safe. This is from what i saw a couple times the past 3 weeks and what family,friends and coworkers mentioned as we all drive by many of these parks on the way to work (yes we do not have the option to work from home like many others do, but not mad at the ones that can they are doing thier part to protect us all). Step up NOW KCP save lives, i bet your workers would like that since they are out there in the thick of it probably not by choice.

  • Why is kcp blog censoring peoples comments? post all of them dont try to quiet your citizens.

  • Restrooms still open? Cleaned Frequently? That is one of the most germ containing areas. Unless you are disinfecting after every park user it is not a safe environment, and im sure those who have to clean them do not feel good about putting themselves at risk. Close all the parks to keep your county residents safe please.

  • Who is making the decisions to leave parks and trails open? Is it the parks director, or the head of the dnrp or is it Dow? Whoever it is is helping spread the virus and probably hurting their employees while they are at it. Not any form of leadership going on for the community. I guess they do not watch the news or stay up to date on what has been happening around the globe. We have been given the warning and decision to not take action just contribute to the hard ache many families are going thru and will only grow with bad decisions like this. To the King County leaders making the decision, either do the right thing or resign and get out of the way for real leaders of OUR community, please for all our well being.

  • King County Parks decision to take baby steps reminds me of Disneylands decision a few weeks ago where “we know there is a serious health risk but we will remain open during a busy warm sunny weekend so even more people risk spreading the virus just some might ot get mad at us”. Poor poor decision that is putting all (employees,public,loved ones, anyone and everyone) at a higher risks. We all hear the alarm bells being set off around the world on how bad this is and is going to get but i guess the high paycheck decision makers at King County are safe in their houses and void of reality on their own staff’s out working and the communities they represent.

  • I implore every king county resident take a look at the City of Maple Valley and Covington’s response to this crisis. They made bold extreme measures yesterday because they actually care for their citizens, where as the County and Parks Dept. by their actions show they do not value their employees who are at at risk to keep these parks and trails open or their own citizens by increasing the risk to every human. The decision makes for the county should be fired and maybe bring in real leaders like the ones in the cities i mentioned.

  • To Jane, you are ignorant at the time you posted this, you did not get the seriousness of this virus and you were being selfish in your response. I hope and pray you have educated yourself since your post and now get it. If not you are one of the Seattle area selfish people that only care for your own interests and not that of the greater good and your fellow people in the community. A swim event is not important in this day and time.What you did get right is the fac that they should have shut everything down when this decision was made not just cancel a few events so i am sorry for being so hard but the vast majority of people heading out to parks the past couple weeks do not care about others and are making a bad situation worse, and King County Parks is not holding up their end with leaving us all at risk

  • King County Parks is on the wrong side of history on this crisis, if it is unsafe to have certain areas open to the public then the entire park system needs to be closed since the public is being selfish and not following health guidelines. Dow should not be re-elected and Christie True should be out of a job for not being pro active (like Maple Valley Parks and the City of Covington just did) You are putting the public and anyone who visits your sites in a very dangerous position. Your closing some things is a good first step but it is too little and i fear too late.

  • Why closing tennis court? Tennis is not a close contact sport. I can understand about closing basketball courts, ballfields, swimming pools, playgrounds, picnic shelters, etc. because of difficulty of maintaining six feet distance. But tennis?

  • It says “Ballfields and playfields are open for walking and other non-team activities.” but then says “The closure includes picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, ballfields, …” but this seems contradictory, could you clarify please? thank you.

    • Closed facilities include sports courts, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and other areas where Public Health social distancing guidance are difficult to achieve.

      We strongly encourage people to practice social distancing when visiting parks and trails. Examples:
      – Walking on a trail, leaving at least 6 feet between you/your family and other visitors.
      – Riding a bike, leaving at least 6 feet between you/your family and other visitors.
      – Playing frisbee or catch on a field with you/your family – pick-up or other group games not permitted.

      When in parks and on trails, you are encouraged to:
      – Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to going to parks and trails, including washing hands, carrying hand sanitizer, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home if you are not feeling well.
      – Observe a distance of six feet from other people and maintain it as you walk, bike, or hike.
      – Stay alert and communicate. Signal your presence to others – use your voice, bell, or horn.
      – When on a single-track or natural surface trail, maintain the six feet distance from others and step off the trail to allow others to pass.
      – Do not congregate at trailheads, restrooms, or other facilities.
      – Practice Leave No Trace and pack out your trash. That helps protect our Parks staff.

      • Why is Frisbee allowed and tennis prohibited? We keep much more than 6 feet distance when playing and there is a net in between to make sure there is no contact. Please reconsider.

  • So disappointed in this decision by King County less than 20 hours before the event. The meet director made it clear over the last week that swimmers and spectators were attending this event at their own risk. Now, at 4pm on Tuesday we are notified that the event on Thursday morning has been canceled? Why is it acceptable to state “We are still operational, hard at work so you can play, and all of our parks, trails and other facilities are open at this time”, yet cancel this regional swim event? Swimmers have dedicated countless hours preparing for this event. Parents have taken time off from work, invested in suits and equipment, booked hotels, flights and rental cars. The devastating effect of this decision trickles down to areas that King County Parks decision makers can’t possibly even have considered.

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