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The run on parks
It was just a few minutes past ten on a beautiful Sunday morning this spring, but the parking lot at the Patapsco State Park trailhead on Hilltop Road was already full. Only with difficulty could I squeeze my smallish car in at the very end of the lot, my only chance since the State Park police has posted large signs on Hilltop road that threatened $250 tickets for overflow parking along the road. For no good reason, I thought, who wants to deter people from hiking? Turns out, Maryland's park rangers restrict parking to avoid that parks get overburdened. Just a few years back, there was never a problem with parking or overburdening, but then came COVID and park visitations exploded.
Turns out that when everyone was locked up in some kind of isolation, the outdoors became the place to be. That was a good thing, given how much being out in nature apparently....
Can the increased outdoor activity be maintained even after Covid subsides? Can a part of the outdoor adverse be converted to become outdoor users? Can outdoor participation become more diverse? Can our open spaces accommodate the increased demand and most importantly, do disadvantaged communities who need open space the most, have sufficient space and have they access to it?
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