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Novato Park Restrictions, Trails Remain Open
On March 22, due to ongoing congregation at Marin’s recreational areas, Marin County Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an immediate closure of all Marin parks and open space to stem the tide of visitors coming from outside their own neighborhoods during the COVID-19 emergency. This closure refers to motorized access to and from parks and open spaces. This action was taken in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and urges residents to not travel to parks or open space in areas outside of their own neighborhoods, as well as other areas of Marin County or even the state. Please avoid traveling by car, and instead walk, bike or use other non-motorized means to get to your local outdoor recreation area.
“We’re looking to the community for voluntary compliance with the orders to please stay at home and travel for only essential trips such as getting groceries or going to the doctor,” said City Manager Adam McGill. “Having to patrol parks to address residents who don’t comply with the order would be a drain on the City’s resources and failing to comply would likely mean we’d have to extend the stay at home order. We are all in this together and counting on every member of the Novato community to do their part.”
Many neighborhoods are walkable or have trails nearby that are easily accessed by foot or bicycle. We encourage you to go outside in your own neighborhood, in moderation, and continue to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from people outside of your household. If we all congregate at the same hiking trail, beach or park, it will be difficult to practice appropriate social distancing so please seek the path less traveled—close to your home. These measures are vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community and to protecting the health and safety of our friends, families, neighbors and especially those most vulnerable.
What Does This Mean for Novato Parks and Trails?
At this time, Novato’s parks and trails remain accessible to the community with the exception of the Novato Skate Park (1200 Hamilton Parkway) and Dogbone Meadow Dog Park (Novato Boulevard) which are now closed. All Novato park parking lots are closed, and residents are encouraged to walk, bike or use other non-motorized means to get to a park or trail within their own neighborhood only. Please note: Dogs must be kept on leash while at any public property within the city, including but not limited to, parks, school grounds, recreation fields or open space areas per Novato Municipal Code 3-1.17.
While our neighborhood parks and trails remain accessible, we strongly discourage the use of playground equipment as they include high-touch surfaces and because it is typically not possible for children to reliably maintain social distancing at playgrounds. Additionally, activities and facilities such as ball fields, courts, and park restrooms will be closed and all park rentals have been cancelled until further notice. It is of critical importance to continue to practice social distancing when outside your home, including at parks, walking around your neighborhood or out for essentials.
Why is Dogbone Meadow Dog Park Closed?
As part of our commitment to the health and safety of our community, as well as due to complaints regarding people gathering and not complying with social distancing recommendations, the City has decided to close Dogbone Meadow Dog Park. Dogbone Meadow is considered a community park as it draws visitors from all over Novato and Marin. The City made the difficult decision to close the dog park to the public since closing just the parking lot could result in cars parking on Novato Boulevard or in adjacent neighborhoods which could lead to significant pedestrian safety issues. We understand how important this dog park is to our community, however, to protect the health of Novato residents the dog park is closed throughout the duration of the shelter at home order.
Visit the City of Novato COVID-19 webpage at novato.org/coronavirus for information on impacts to the City services, City facility closures and cancelled and postponed events, as well as information on what to do if you are feeling sick and tips on how to reduce your risk of exposure.
For up-to-date information on what other local agencies are doing in response to COVID-19, please visit the following websites:
Marin Health and Human Services: marinhhs.org/coronavirus
Novato Unified School District: nusd.org/coronavirus-covid-19
North Marin Water District: nmwd.com
Novato Sanitary District: novatosan.com
Marin Transit: marintransit.org
Golden Gate Transit: goldengate.org/district/news-media