NC Governor Cooper says state parks can reopen in phase 1
Governor Cooper extended North Carolina’s stay-at-home order through May 8 but says if coronavirus numbers reach certain benchmarks in the state, phase 1 reopening can begin on May 9. Part of that phase 1 reopening includes the state’s 38 parks and recreation areas, many of which have been closed since the end of March.
In the meantime, some remote state parks remain open because they’ve not seen unsafe numbers of visitors. But don’t count on that to last. “We expect that to change,” Katie Hall, a parks spokesperson, told the Courier-Tribune. “More people are showing up than normal because they’re looking for a place to go.”
Amid coronavirus, the bike business is booming
With shops, movie theaters and restaurants closed in most states, people around the world are turning to bikes in record numbers as an alternative to public transportation and to socially isolate while getting exercise. Anecdotally, bike companies are reporting a huge surge sales. A representative at the bike company Trek says that bike sales have been flat for the past few years but this spring, the brand is seeing an uptick, especially among entry-level hybrids and mountain bikes.
To quantify their hunch, Trek conducted a survey to explore how cycling behaviors and attitudes are shifting during the virus. They found that 85% of Americans perceive cycling as a safer mode of transportation compared to public transportation while social distancing and that 90% say if they must travel within 5 miles during COVID-19, biking is one of their top three modes of transportation.
NC’s Big Bradley Falls trail closes due to overcrowding
Many trails in WNC have temporarily closed over concerns of crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic. This weekend, another popular recreation area joined the list: Big Bradley Falls Trail. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission closed Big Bradley Falls Trail in Polk County, saying it was necessary to close the trail to keep people away from sections of the trail that can be dangerous when overcrowded.
Since 2000, there have been eight fatal accidents at Big Bradley Falls. The trail is closed through May 8.
Photo of North Carolina Mountains from Getty Images