Yukon parks, trails offer relief

Residents cooped up inside enjoy outdoor walking, exercise

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Yukon’s Wanda and Gene McClure, with their dog “Mr. Andy,” enjoy the nice weather this week for a walk at Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W Vandament. Although playground equipment is closed because of fears about the coronavirus, all City of Yukon parks remain open. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar

Senior Staff Writer

Yukon’s Anh Nguyen takes advantage of the chance to get fresh air with a brisk walk along the Chisholm Trail canals. Yukon Parks & Recreation officials advise people to practice “social distancing” when using the city’s parks. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Although Yukon’s playgrounds are closed during the coronavirus pandemic, many residents cooped up in their homes are coming outside to visit the city’s five walking trails.

“Our parks are all open,” Yukon Parks & Recreation Director Jan Scott said. “A park is a great place for people to relieve some stress and feel a little normal.”

One popular destination is the Yukon City Park complex, which has 2.2 miles of walking trail among the interconnecting Chisholm Trail, Freedom Trail and Yukon City parks. People can enter at 2200 S Holly or 500 W Vandament.

There also are walking trails at Kimbell Park, 525 S Seventh; Welch Park, 615 Annawood; and Greenbelt Park, 400 E Vandament.

Yukon’s newest trail is one that starts at Dickenson Park, at First and Poplar, and stretches along Cornwell to Main Street then to Lakeshore ending at the east city limits.

“I’m just glad we have such nice trails, especially the one at Chisholm Trail Park,” Scott said. “Otherwise everyone would have to be walking in the streets, and that can be dangerous.

“This is a great opportunity for people to check out the different trails we have in our parks.”

A walker and his furry friend traverse part of the 2.2 miles of walking trail at the interconnecting Yukon City Park complex. The City of Yukon has five walking trails. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s stay-at-home order allows Oklahomans to go outside since exercise and fresh air are important to people’s health. The governor has extended the state of emergency to April 30.

While parks and trails remain open, fresh air and open spaces don’t guarantee safety from COVID-19.

People must still maintain proper social and physical distancing of 6 feet or more, according to Scott.

“There’s plenty of room on those trails for people to stay a safe distance from each other,” she said.

“Be courteous. Pick up your dog poop and pick up your trash. And step to the side when you need to.”

WALK, RUN, HIKE OUTSIDE

With Yukon’s fitness centers and gyms closed, these local women find a new place for their yoga workout – a Yukon park pavilion. People who have been cooped up inside have found refuge in the City of Yukon’s parks, which remain open to the public. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

The City of Yukon’s extended emergency proclamation permits residents to walk, run and hike outside – but they must keep at least six feet apart. Gatherings of 10 more people are strictly prohibited.

“People can go to the parks and walk around and have their kids play out in the grass – as long as they follow social distancing requirements,” said Mayor Mike McEachern, who signed the proclamation. “I encourage people to get outside and visit our parks or walk in their neighborhoods.

“All playground equipment in the parks has been wrapped up and is off limits, however, because the virus lives on up to 72 hours on metal surfaces.”

Yukon’s Parks & Recreation director said most Yukon residents have been following orders by not climbing on the play equipment.

A woman and her dog walk up the observation mound at Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W Vandament. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

“Overall people are law-abiding citizens although there are some scoundrels around at night who like to vandalize,” Scott said.

Mayor McEachern encourages everyone to wear masks when out in public during the current health crisis.

“Having a face covering has been proven to be a thing of value – to those who are sick and those who are not – to keep the virus from spreading,” he said.