Outdoors

Public Parks Open Up Cautiously

Western North Carolina – With summer about to arrive, the happy news is that in western North Carolina many public spaces are now opening up gradually for all to enjoy the outdoors.   Of course, all precautions still need to be taken by participants to keep themselves safe, but parks in Asheville and Hendersonville are open, including dog parks, outdoor courts, fields, boat accesses and fishing ponds.  So the fun of being outdoors in the summer can begin. Playgrounds and all buildings located on the parks, including restrooms, remain closed in Asheville, and numbers are limited in many places, but access is allowed to the parks. 

At Aston Park in Asheville, the tennis courts are open from 10 am until 4 pm, first come first served with no reservations and no fee through the month of June. Just show up to play. The clubhouse, including restrooms and the pro shop will remain closed. No staff will be on-site and the water fountains are turned off.   In fact, many of the tennis courts throughout the Buncombe County—Oakley, Weaver Park Montford Park, TC Roberson– are open for play, some with evening lights.   

Because of COVID 19, it is important to think about ways to eliminate any unnecessary contact with surfaces you might touch and sanitize your hands often. Do remember to bring your own water, as many of the water fountains are closed.  The Asheville Municipal Golf course is open with additional measures in place to comply with state and county physical distancing requirements. Public swimming pools are scheduled to open Saturday, June 27,  with limited capacity.

In Henderson County, the outdoor parks are open, and the outdoor tennis and pickleball courses are open.  The city officials request that If you are waiting to use a court please wait outside of the fence in your vehicle, and if others are waiting to use a court, then limit playing time to 60 minutes.  Sports fields are open, however, groups must keep to 25 people or less.  The indoor facilities are closed, as well as the park playgrounds.  However, the park restrooms are open. 

Mills River gave some guidelines for park use.  The dog park use will be limited to 10 people and 15 dogs per side, no public water will be available, so one needs to bring their own.  As for the picnic shelter, it is open on a first-come first-served use of groups with under 25 people. The shelter will be closed twice per day for disinfecting. No reservations will be taken at this time.  Park restrooms will be open for public use. restrooms will close twice per day for disinfecting. The tennis courts are open for use with a limit of 4 people per court. The playground and basketball court will remain closed. And the walking trails are open for use. Of course, one needs to be courteous of other walkers and maintain social distancing. 

Many private clubs are opening the gates to allow for some activity outside the club. Their members can begin to participate in outdoor tennis, swimming and golfing. The Asheville Racquet Club is allowing tennis on the clay and hard courts outside,  but only private lessons indoors. Swimming in the pool will be at half capacity.  Clinics will take place but with a limited number of players. All USTA tournaments have been canceled, but the summer camps for children will take place. Tennis leagues are being rescheduled at the moment. Unfortunately, The Sports Complex at the Omni Grove Park Inn is temporarily closed, due to its connection with the hotel.

With so much in flux throughout the state, this is just a partial outline of what the Parks and Recreation departments in Buncombe and Henderson county are allowing.  One must of course constantly check on their website to get up-to-date information.  But thanks to Phase II public areas are opening up to allow for some athletics and activity to take place.  Do keep in mind that all precautions need still be taken to stay safe and remain healthy while participating in any activity.