Local nature trail experiences overcrowding

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more people have been getting outside to enjoy nature. But at the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, they’ve been experiencing overcrowding.

“Time spent in nature and along the trail, it can be a much needed part of your self care at this time. We want to keep the trail open for everyone to enjoy but safety and public health are our top priority right now,” said Justin Topa, Community Engagement & Programs Manager, Lackawanna Heritage Valley.

Parts of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail are seeing double their normal amount of visitors. Those who care for the trail at Lackawanna Heritage Valley want everyone to keep themselves and the public safe from the potential spread of coronavirus while enjoying nature.

“We want to make sure that everyone is maintaining a six-foot distance from other people. We want them to refrain from groups or gathering with others from outside their home. Be aware of high touch points, gates, receptacles, things like that. Pack out any waste or trash. No trash collection is happening along the trail,” said Topa.

To continue fighting against the spread of COVID-19, the Lackawanna Heritage Valley also had to postpone the launch of their free bike share program that was anticipated to start this month.

“It has a fleet of over 100 bikes and we also have bikes for different abilities as well. Of course given the current health crisis, we’re going to push that back for hopefully healthier and warmer days as well,” said Topa.

People who continue to visit the trail say it’s a nice way to get out and have fun while being restricted from many places during this pandemic.

“I think it’s beautiful. I mean the weather and everything is just perfect. You forget about the virus. You forget about all the pandemic and the hysteria. You just forget,” said Melisa York of Scranton.

“The sound of nature, the sunlight, it feels good. The wind. Everything,” said Quanesia Dixon of Scranton.

The Lackawanna Heritage Valley wants everyone to get outdoors and enjoy nature but they also want you to use common sense.

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