New Brunswick

'Exercise not socialize': Not following the rules could see Fredericton trails closed

Sport fields, playgrounds, skateparks and dog parks are all closed in Fredericton because of COVID-19. The dwindling number of places for people to go to exercise has sent people flocking to the trail system, which remains open — for now. 

City and police remind trail users to practise physical distancing

Signs have been placed around Fredericton trails reminding people to practise physical distancing. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Fredericton's trail system is proving a popular place to go to get a little exercise and fresh air during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

And, it's something André Arseneault, the president of Fredericton Trails Coalition, is happy to see — as long as people follow the rules.

"My fear is that if the few people that aren't behaving properly on the trails don't change their ways that we might lose our trails for the remainder of the COVID lockdown," he said. 

Sport fields, playgrounds, skateparks and dog parks are all closed in Fredericton. The dwindling number of places for people to go to exercise has sent people flocking to the trail system, which remains open — for now.

A City of Fredericton truck drives over the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge reminding people to keep a safe distance. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"We're fortunate here in Fredericton that our trails are still open," Arseneault said.

He said he's happy about the significant increase in people on the trails in the last few weeks but cautioned it's important they follow the guidelines for physical distancing. 

"Exercise, not socialize," said Arseneault.

The City of Fredericton seems to have the same concern. It has added signs along the trails, and city vehicles drive sections to remind people to practise physical distancing.

Fredericton's parks and trails are still open and will stay that way as long as the public follows the physical distancing rules, according to Wayne Knorr, spokesperson for the city.

"It is extremely important for people to obey physical distancing and not to gather — it's the reason that we can keep our parks and our trail system operating."

André Arseneault, president of the Fredericton Trails Coalition, said more people are using the trails now than usual. (Gary Moore/CBC)

The Fredericton Police Force has also increased patrols on the trail system.

"I've seen more police on the trails in the last two weeks than I saw all of last summer — so that's a really good thing," said Arseneault.

Alycia Bartlett, a spokesperson for the police department, said in an email to CBC News that officers are patrolling areas of the trail with high traffic, such as the Bill Thorpe Walking bridge. 

Bartlett wouldn't disclose if tickets have been issued on the trail system but said it's a last resort for an officer.

"Enforcement activities — including ticketing — will be used when appropriate, when people are not following public health directives."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

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