Gazebo Park and Cedar Ridge Preserve are among several Hopewell Valley outdoor resources that will remain open for residents, according to municipal mayors.
The walking trails in the parks and preserves are still able to be used, as basketball courts and playgrounds are closed.
Hopewell Valley consists of Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough and Pennington. Hopewell Township Mayor Kristin McLaughlin, Hopewell Borough Mayor Paul Anzano and Mayor Joe Lawver of Pennington made clear in a joint statement which park trails would be open in the three towns.
“After careful consideration, and consultation with our health officer, we have decided that Hopewell Valley residents will benefit if certain local parks remain open for limited purposes,” the mayors said. “Unlike other parts of the state, the Hopewell Valley is not densely populated. We have an extensive network of 45 miles of trails (not including county and state owned lands), and people should be able to use those trails while maintaining the requirements for social distancing.”
The announcement by the mayors came after Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order on April 7 that closed state and county parks to visitors, which is aimed at slowing down the spread of COVID-19.
The order closed the Mercer County-maintained Mercer Meadows, which spans both Lawrence Township and Hopewell Township.
Mercer Meadows includes Rosedale Park in Pennington and Curlis Woods in Hopewell Township.
The executive order does not apply to municipally-owned parks.
Open Hopewell Borough trails are at Gazebo Park and the Hopewell Train Station. Hopewell Township available walking paths are the Cedar Ridge Preserve, Eames Preserve, Elks Preserve, Heritage Preserve, Kate’s Trail, Kulak Preserve, Mt. Rose Preserve, Nayfield Preserve, Skyview Preserve, the Sourlands Preserve, St. Michaels Farm Preserve and Woolsey Park.
Pennington trails that will also remain open are at Sked Street Park, Kunkle Park and Penn View Heights.
“Our decision to keep certain parks open works only if residents agree to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control regarding social distancing (at least six feet) and facial coverings when appropriate,” the mayors said. “Simply put, if the rules are not followed, the parks will be closed immediately and not reopened so long as the governor’s executive order closing state and county parks is in effect.”