With many Western New York residents looking for reasons to leave their homes the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry has reopened winter facilities for recreational activities for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“COVID is still a very serious situation and something that the precautions need to occur,” Deputy Commissioner, Jimbo McDonald says, “But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get out, get some fresh air, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy all these great activities that are offered for free.”

According to NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV) the reopening introduces new safety measures at all forty parks that will be enforced by County park rangers.

COVID protocols are in place including masks being required in areas where it is impossible to maintain six-foot distance from others including ice skating rinks, as well as ski and sledding hills.

The County reports that all indoor facilities are closed right now to avoid large gatherings, excluding restrooms.

You can use the new Erie County Park Locator to discover nearby parks other than the popular parks like Chestnut Ridge or Emery.

All Erie County parks have reopened for winter recreational activities until March 31st with hours of operation varying depending on weather conditions.

For hours and available activities  residents are encouraged to visit: Erie County Winter Activities Page

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