A Gradual Process…
Covid-19 impacts the Coachella Valley Preserve, especially the 880 acres privately owned and managed by the Center for Natural Land Management.
First we shutdown the water station in the Palm House Visitor Center in early March. For environmental reasons we are no longer supplying single-use plastic bottles of water for visitors who either forget to bring water or need more after hiking. Instead we set up a water station of three 5 gallon jugs of water atop crocks with spigots. Of course, we can’t count on every visitor carrying a water bottle, so we provide paper cups as well. At least it’s a start. Our concern with the water station has to do with the spigot that easily touches the rims of empty water bottles that need refilling or the rims of cups for a second and third refill.
On March 13th we run out of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, so we close the 2 bathrooms as we cannot replenish these supplies.
A few days later the Palm House Visitor Center closes as docent volunteers call Ginny, the Preserve Manager, expressing their concern for putting themselves at risk.
Docents can still volunteer but they are only available to welcome and talk to visitors outside of the Palm House.
Scheduled guided hikes become optional as well. By March 17th all guided hikes are cancelled.
California Governor Gavin Newsom issues a statewide “Stay at Home Order” on March 19th. Hiking is still allowed as long as people maintain appropriate 6 feet apart social distancing.
As Riverside County requires face masks to be worn in public in the latter part of March, we do too…
The Bureau of Land Management brings us a sign to post about enjoying outdoor activities in this time of Covid-19 while practicing safe precautions…
And finally on April 1st, no fool’s day joke, we are officially closed.
We don’t know when our 880 acres will reopen for hiking. Check our website for the latest updated information.
Stay safe. Stay home for the most part and when you do go out, maintain social distancing and wear a mask. Even if you don’t like the idea of face masks, wear one out of respect for others, respect for their right to feel as safe as they can amid this strange virus. Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Check the source of information first. Stay strong. We are sharing this surreal experience together. We got this!