King County Parks has closed Five Mile Lake and Lake Geneva Park near Federal Way due to consistent overcrowding, posing a threat to public health.
The closures began Friday, Aug. 7 and will remain in effect until further notice, King County Parks announced in an Aug. 6 news release.
Closures have been established to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and come as a result of large crowds and non-compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines. The two popular parks have seen an uptick in visitors in recent weeks amid warmer weather and days of sunshine.
Five Mile Lake is located at 36429 44th Avenue South in Auburn and Lake Geneva Park is located at 4429 46th Avenue South in Auburn.
Since re-opening these parks in May, Parks employees have regularly observed large gatherings taking place, which is directly counter to the public health guidelines established as part of the state’s Safe Start Plan, the release stated.
“There has been a high level of non-compliance with other public health guidelines, such as failure to maintain physical distance, limiting groups outside the household to five or fewer people, and using face coverings when distance can’t be maintained. This non-compliance puts park visitors at risk and impedes Parks employees from keeping the parks clean, safe and open,” the release said.
Parking lots and park gates will be locked, and restrooms are closed. King County Sheriff’s deputies will conduct extra patrols at these parks to deter improper parking and use of the closed facilities.
Parks officials are asking for the public’s help in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives by complying with these closures and recreating responsibly.
The County’s parks and trails initially closed in March as part of Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. The division re-opened its parks and trails in May and continued re-opening additional facilities and taking facility reservations as King County entered Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start plan in mid-June.
For more information about Parks’ COVID-19 response, visit kingcountyparks.org/COVID.
King County encourages people to recreate responsibly by following these simple tips:Know before you go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a back-up plan.
Practice physical distancing: Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give other space. If you are sick, stay home.
Plan ahead: Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch, and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
Play it safe: Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
Explore locally: Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trail, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit.
Leave no trace: Respect public lands and water, as well as Native and local communities. Take all your garbage with you.
Build an inclusive outdoors: Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.