CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said it would close Hocking Hills State Park and its trails at sunset Friday because of concerns that hikers would be unable to stay far enough apart to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
The popular hiking destination, which is about three hours south of Cleveland, is the only state park the department has elected to fully close, according to the release. It also means that several features and sites, including Conkle’s Hollow State Natural Preserve, will close.
“This was a difficult decision, however, this unique trail system is not designed to allow for adequate social distancing without potential risks,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said the news release
ODNR said the park’s narrow trails makes keeping six feet away from other hikers nearly impossible. A reduced number of park employees could also hinder response time for accidents or falls occur.
Accidents could also place undue pressure on emergency responders, the release states.