Southern Californians can still walk, hike and bike outdoors without violating Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “stay at home” order, but options are narrowing as public agencies move to stop many activities, including hiking on Los Angeles County’s multi-use trail system, golf and team sports on public courts, parking at many beaches and hiking on trails in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Here’s an update on what’s happening where.
If you do got outside for a walk, remember these tips for keeping safe. Local and state officials stress the need to take greater care in maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet from others.
Los Angeles city parks and beaches
Monday morning, a Griffith Park ranger said that city park trails remained open at that hour, including the trails in Griffith Park. But virtually all other city park facilities are closed.
“This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks,” tweeted L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. “So we are closing sports and recreation at @LACityParks and closing parking at city beaches.”
Santa Monica beaches
The city of Santa Monica on Sunday closed its beach parking lots, citing the risks posed by the many people who had gathered at the beach over the weekend.
City officials advised residents and visitors to “avoid the beach, beach bike path, and Palisades Park today and in the days to come to protect themselves and others.” (Santa Monica residents with parking permits will still be able to use them, officials noted.)
Los Angeles County multi-use trails
L.A. County Parks on Monday announced temporary closure of the county’s multi-use trail system, a network of more than 220 miles that includes the Eaton Canyon Trail (famed for its waterfall and often gridlocked on weekends); all interior trails at Vasquez Rocks; all interior trails at Placerita Canyon; the Loop Trail, Devil’s Chair and South Fork Trail at Devil’s Punchbowl; the San Dimas Nature Trail; the Schabarum-Skyline Trail in the San Gabriel mountains; and dozens of other popular routes.
“We have recently had a surge of park guests/hiker and are not able to keep social distances,” said spokesperson Katie Martel in a statement. Michelle O’Connor, trails planning section head for the county, said the network is used by millions of hikers yearly.
This move, however, does not close all trails in county parks. Many parks in the county’s 183-park system, including Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area (which is run by the county) have trails that remain open. A County Parks spokesperson said the department’s website would soon be updated to reflect the changes.
Los Angeles County beaches
Because of runoff from rains, not the coronavirus, L.A. County Public Health officials are urging people to avoid “swimming, surfing and playing in ocean waters.” This advice is standard following rains because of the contaminants that runoff carries into ocean waters along the shoreline. The beach water use advisory is currently in place through Wednesday at 6 p.m.
State parks in L.A. County
State officials on Monday closed parking lots of more than three-dozen state parks including nine in Los Angeles County: Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook; El Matador State Beach; Leo Carrillo State Park; Malibu Creek State Park; Malibu Lagoon State Beach; Point Dume State Beach; Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach; Topanga State Park; and Will Roger’s State Historic Park. Officials said the list “is dynamic and will be updated regularly.”
Santa Monica mountains
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority has announced that it is closing all of its parklands, trail and facilities — close to 75,000 acres of parkland, including all parks owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
The authority’s busiest parks, now closed, include Wilacre Park in Studio City; Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades; Franklin Canyon Park off Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills; Ed Davis Park in Towsley Canyon, the Santa Clarita Valley; all the overlooks on Mulholland Drive; Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve at the west end of Victory Boulevard; and Escondido Canyon Park in Malibu.
“All of these parks were crazy yesterday,” said authority spokesperson Dash Stolarz. “This is a total heartbreaker for us. We would not do this if it were not necessary.”
Stolarz said rangers and other field personnel would be on the scene to enforce the closures.
“No one wants to give anybody a ticket,” Stolarz said. But if need be, “they will.”
On Monday morning, the city of Laguna Beach closed trail access to local county wilderness parks. Monday night, city staffers were under orders to close city beaches “unless the County of Orange or the State of California does so before that time.”
Laguna Beach’s closures will include Main Beach, Heisler, and Treasure Island Parks, all beach-adjacent.
Orange County Parks
Orange County last Wednesday banned vehicular traffic to Carbon Canyon, Clark, Craig, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Mason, Mile Square, Tri-City and Yorba regional parks. Pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians were permitted. Parking and restrooms were still open at Peters Canyon, Santiago Oaks and O’Neill regional parks.
Throughout Los Angeles County
The latest “Safer at Home” order from Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, issued March 21, prohibits all public and private group events and gatherings through April 19. It also says that individuals and families are not prohibited from “hiking, walking, biking or shopping at [e]ssential [b]usinesses,” so long as they keep their distance from others.
The order also notes that if local entities (like municipal governments) choose to impose stricter limits, the county order does not supersede them.
Los Angeles County has closed all indoor and outdoor playgrounds, along with indoor shopping centers and all swap meets and flea markets (though farmers markets and produce stand are still permitted).
Newsom’s order said: “Everyone in California is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary healthcare, or go to an essential job.”
But the governor also said: “We’re going to keep the grocery stores open. … We’re going to make sure that you’re getting critical medical supplies. You can still take your kids outside, practicing common sense and social distancing. You can still walk your dog.”
Last Wednesday, California’s state parks system had closed all campgrounds. Yosemite National Park closed on Friday and many national parks have dramatically cut back access, closing parking areas and roads.