Bedwell and other area parks and preserves are opening with exception of Big Dish

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on May 9, 2020

Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park re-opens today, joining MidPeninsula Regional Open Space preserves, along with many San Mateo County and Palo Alto parks. The Stanford Big Dish remains closed.

In the revised shelter-in-place order issued by San Mateo and Santa Clara counties on April 29, residents are allowed “to engage in outdoor recreation activity, including, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, bicycling, and running.”

As a reminder, residents are asked by the health department to travel no more than 10 miles from their homes for recreational purposes. And if parking lots are full, refrain from parking on area streets. Instead visit another park.

“We are excited to reopen Bedwell Bayfront Park for the benefit of our residents,” said Menlo Park  Mayor Cecilia Taylor. “It remains important for all of us to continue to follow the health officer’s order and the new safety protocols. This is for the protection of all park users and their loved ones. Help us maintain a safe environment for all so that we can keep the park open for everyone in our community.”

Visitors to Bedwell Bayfront Park are now required to maintain a distance of six feet from those outside their household, carry a face covering for use in the parking lot, in public restrooms and when encountering others along the trails. The public restrooms will be open, but restricted to one person in the restroom at a time. Public drinking fountains remain closed. In addition, parking will be restricted to approximately half the parking lot, with every other parking spot blocked off, and no parking in unauthorized areas along the sides of the road or outside the park gates.

San Mateo County Parks reopened 13 of its 23 parks earlier this week, with similar safety protocols in place.

“We are eager to welcome visitors back to San Mateo County Parks and for them to experience the physical and mental health benefits of being outdoors and on the trails,” said Parks Director Nicholas Calderon. “During this time, it’s critical that park users follow the new rules developed to prevent overcrowding, discourage gatherings and that support social distancing. Let’s work together to ensure that parks are safe environments for everyone.”

Playgrounds, picnic areas, campgrounds, fields, visitor centers, and some restrooms and parking lots remain closed.

In Palo Alto, Baylands and Arastradero are open. (Foothill Park is also open but restricted to City of Palo Alto residents.) The parking lot at Baylands is open weekdays, closed weekends; restrooms are also open. Vehicle access at Arastradero Preserve is still not allowed, though visitors walking or cycling continue to have access; restrooms remain closed.

MidPen posted on its website: “We’re happy to announce that, with guidance from county health officials, we have reopened all preserves. Some trail use restrictions have been lifted: bikes and horses are again allowed on multiuse trails. Safe social distancing is still required, and to make that easier, Midpen has implemented one-way routes on some popular loop trails. Please follow the signs.

“Thank you for doing your part and enjoying your public open space responsibly during the ongoing county stay-at-home orders. We’ve seen many of you practicing safe social distancing and welcoming others by sharing the trails. We believe in the healing power of nature and that it is important for us all to be able to get outside to connect with and experience the positive emotional and physical health benefits of being in nature.”

Though trails are open, restrooms,  drinking fountains and group areas remain closed.

While Stanford opened its golf course for member play on Tuesday, May 5, which will be expanded to faculty, staff, students, and alumni play on Tuesday, May 12, the Big Dish walking/jogging paths remain closed. In response to an inquiry on why the Dish remains closed given that outdoor activities are now allowed under the expanded shelter-in-place guidelines issued April 29, a Stanford spokeswoman replied:

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are continuing to keep the Dish closed at this time but actively discussing and planning for ways to reopen the Dish while keeping the health and wellbeing of our community as our as primary objective.

“Given the updated Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order now extends through May 31, we are continuing to monitor the situation in conjunction with the County and health officials.

“We realize that the Dish is a community treasure and its closure is a disappointment for many in our community.”

Top photo of Bedwell Bayfront Park by Linda Hubbard (c) 2018; second photo from top of Edgewood Park by Linda Hubbard (c) 2017; photo of Hamm’s Gulch trail on Windy Hill by Linda Hubbard (c) 2016; photo of Big Dish taken on April 3, before its closure by Linda Hubbard (c) 2020

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

mom May 9, 2020 at 10:58 am

Stanford should open the Dish trail one-way only to encourage social distancing. The paved car-free path is very safe and comfortable for parents pushing baby strollers.

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mom2 May 9, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Stanford could easily restrict entrance and having 1-way is a good idea. They could post an employee at each entrance and allow restricted numbers, then replace those upon their exit. Stanford must have drones to monitor if need be.
This is an opportunity for Stanford to extend some goodwill to its neighbors and could help many physically, and emotionally. Just like a members-only golf course, but larger, yes?

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