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Moncton keeping trails and parks open, but with strict rules
MONCTON, N.B. -- There's no shortage of visitors to Moncton's major parks.
Parking lots are full and so are the trails, but new signage at Centennial, Mapleton and Irishtown nature parks indicate it's now one-way only.
"The reason we did that was really in order to do two things: ensure social distancing and alleviate some of the possible congestion that we were seeing along some of the major trails in our regional parks," said Moncton spokesperson Isabelle Leblanc.
One major trail in each of the three parks is designated one-way, encouraging residents to keep a two-metre distance, be aware of surroundings, alert others when passing and to exercise, not socialize.
Moncton resident Pierre Gagne thinks it's an "excellent idea."
"We don't meet anybody as we're going through," he said. "The odd jogger, we just let them go by and pull over to the right. So it does work."
But some municipalities across the Maritimes have opted out completely -- closing down all parks and trails, like Halifax.
Some world-be park goers say it was an unnecessary measure.
"I think it's a little bit of overreach," said Halifax resident Bob Courtney."I think they could keep the trails open just for walking through the paths, but I see them much the same as sidewalks in the centre of the city here."
Back in Moncton, city staff say residents are for the most part respecting the rules, but their staff is still out monitoring.
"To just talk to people if need be, and to ensure that people don't congregate, don't socialize, but exercise," Leblanc said.
Both the city and many Monctonians agree keeping parks and trails open is crucial for people's mental health.
"What we're seeing with curve and everything, it's going to take a while," said Moncton resident Louise Aucoin."So people are just going to go crazy if they don't have some sort of way of blowing off steam."
While the trails remain open, Moncton officials encourage people to make use of trails near home and avoid driving to major parks.
Moncton says their parks and trails will remain open, so long as people follow the rules of physical distancing on the one-way trails. If they don't, they say they won't have any other choice but to close them down.