Google Mobility Report Shows Park Visitor Increase, Sleeping Bear Dunes May Close Trails
In a new report by Google using location data in Google Maps, Michigan has seen a more than 50 percent decrease in retail shopping. However, the data also shows an increase of 15 percent at trails and parks.
Full report here: Mobility Changes
“The challenge we’re having is that our visitation is through the roof,” says Scott Tucker, superintendent of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
With the weather getting warmer people are getting antsy to get outside. Tucker says he’s worried the trails are being loved a little too much.
“It’s really hard to ensure social distancing, when you have 60 cars with ideally two to three to four people in each car trying to hike a trail that’s four to five foot wide.”
Tucker says they may have to close trails if people don’t start following social distancing rules.
“Rather, we would hope that local residents and those who are up here in the region make the decision that if they come up across a parking lot with a couple cars, go find another parking lot,” says Tucker.
The health department recommends for people to wear face masks even on the trails and walking six-feet apart.
Steve Hall, health officer for the Central Michigan Health Department, says, “We know it’s going to be difficult, especially with the weather getting nicer, and the longer that this goes on, we’re all going a little stir crazy, but the more we comply right now, the sooner we’ll come out of this.”
Tucker says he wants people to enjoy the parks, but from a safe distance so that everyone stays safe, healthy and active.
“We’re trying to make sure we put visitor’s health and employee’s health first so that we do get to the other side of this, the lakeshore will be here ready and waiting,” says Tucker.