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COVID-19 Update

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Parks Reopen with New Guidance and Limited Hours

Hiker with camera on a log

Updated at 10 a.m. on May 28 to reflect expanded hours of operation and reinstatment of some park fees as part of Phase 2 Stay Safe, Stay Smart guidance. We are currently dicussing ways to reopen outdoor pools at some point during the summer.

Park rangers have returned to charging fees for fishing permits and to launch boats, kayaks, SUPs, and canoes. Exact change or a credit or debit card is required for the transaction to minimize personal contact. 

Some areas remain closed including playgrounds, athletic fields and courts, restrooms, picnic shelters, and fitness courses. Picnic shelter, paddle boat, water trike, and Jon boat rentals will not be available until further notice.

"Buncombe County sees outdoor recreation as a core service to provide to our residents, so we are happy that our friends and neighbors will be able to access these unique and beautiful spaces responsibly with guidelines in place," said Josh O’Conner, Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services. "During this time, playgrounds, basketball courts, fitness equipment, picnic shelters, grills, restrooms, and other spaces will remain closed in accordance with physical distancing and public gathering guidelines. Fishing, river and lake access, and walking trails are available for everyone to enjoy – while taking extra precautions. Everybody in our community deserves safe access to the outdoors, so we’re reminding visitors to stay kind and stay safe."

Guidance for Park Visitors

  • Practice the three Ws:
    • Wear a cloth face covering when you go out or are around others.
    • Wait at least six feet apart and avoid close contact.
    • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often.
  • Stay home if you are sick or exhibiting symptoms.
  • Wash your hands before leaving home and bring sanitizer or wipes, water, and sunscreen. No restrooms or water fountains are currently open.
  • Maintain at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and anyone who does not live in your household.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 persons.
  • Picnic tables and shelters, grills, playgrounds, and fitness equipment remain closed.
  • Most fields and courts remain closed.
  • Keep it moving when using trails and step aside to let others pass. At some parks, trails may be marked as one-way only.
  • Limit your park time so that others can also safely enjoy the space.
  • Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter to help minimize invasive species, bank erosion, and water pollution.
  • Let us know how you’re enjoying your parks! Tag Recreation Services on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #IHeartBCParks.

Parks open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

  • Alexander River Park on 2589 Old Marshall Highway in Alexander
  • Bent Creek River Park on 1610 Brevard Road in Asheville
  • Buncombe County Sports Park on 58 Apac Circle in Asheville
  • Charles D. Owen Park on 875 Warren Wilson Wilson Road in Swannanoa
  • Collier Cove Nature Preserve on 194 Rhododendron Drive in Arden
  • Corcoran Paige River Park on 9 Pinners Road in Arden
  • Glen Bridge River Park on 77 Pinners Road in Asheville
  • Hominy Creek River Park on 220 Hominy Creek Road in Asheville
  • Karpen Soccer Fields on 207 Reems Creek Road in Weaverville
  • Lake Julian Park on 406 Overlook Extension in Arden
  • Ledges Whitewater Park on 1080 Old Marshall Highway in Alexander
  • North Buncombe Sports Complex on 734 Clarks Chapel Road in Weaverville
  • Walnut Island River Park on 3042 Old Marshall Highway in Alexander

Youth Leagues, Independence Day Celebrations Canceled

COVID-19 has led to local youth sports leagues canceling spring and summer schedules due to physical distancing and mass gathering limitations. Buncombe County’s Independence Day celebration at Lake Julian Park has also been scrapped this year under the same guidance. All other local municipalities have also canceled or rescheduled their annual Independence Day festivals.