What was the response to last week’s call by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for people to stay off the trail to avoid creating crowded conditions that could promote the spread of COVID-19? Full parking lots at many of the trailheads on Loudoun’s western border.
In ramping up efforts to get residents to stay at home, Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday highlighted his frustration with large crowds gathering at recreation areas, especially the Hampton Roads beaches.
This week, AT hikers will find it more difficult to ignore that advice. Barrels that were placed in the parking lot at the Bluemont trailhead have now been augmented with chains that will prevent cars from entering.
While most county and regional parks are closed, some allow pedestrian access for hikers who are able to follow social distancing requirements aimed at limiting the spread of the infection. The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’s trails remain open dawn to dusk. Morven Park in Leesburg has also kept open its pedestrian entrance on Old Waterford Road for those who want to hike the 1,000-acre property.