Massachusetts

Mass. State Parks Reach Capacity as Temps Climb; Officials Urge Social Distancing

The Department of Conservation enforced 2-hour parking closures at state parks after they reach capacity

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With spring-like weather over the weekend, state parks and other public spaces have seen an uptick in attendance. But it’s been essential for patrons to maintain social distancing in the process.

Authorities on Sunday urged people to practice social distancing and temporarily closed multiple state parks as people flocked to natural areas with temperatures climbing in to the 70s.

At times throughout the day, authorities closed the parking areas at the state parks after the areas reached their maximum capacities.

Those parks included Blue Hills State Reservation in Milton, Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, Wachusett Mountain State Reservation in Princeton and Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield.

Parks also faced closures on Saturday due the crowds, which formed despite Gov. Charlie Baker's stay-at-home order in effect until May 18.

Some visitors said they were doing their best to practice social distancing.

"Doing the right thing, trying to social distance, you know I’m a teacher and that’s been difficult," said Peter Lundstrom, of Malden. "I’ve got my bag and I’m going to go on a 20 to 30 minute bike ride through Concord and Carlisle. Then I’m gonna come back and I got my swimsuit, and I’m gonna try my first swim of the season."

With the beginning of May bringing a warmer weekend, some expressed a desire to enjoy the outdoors.

"This is closer to the city so there aren’t a ton of open places like this for people to get out and move around," Gina Restiano said. "The weather is nice and this was coming."

More than 100,000 people in New England have been infected with the virus, and Massachusetts has the majority of those cases, with 66,263 as of Saturday.