Recreation Options During The Pandemic

Ballfields Reopen

In Chapel Hill, ballfields and outdoor basketball courts reopened Sep. 18 for drop-in play, practices with safe play guidelines, no more than 25 participants.

All Durham outdoor public facilities reopened for rental or city programs (youth and adult) for games or practices as long as CDC guidelines with social distancing are followed (max 50 people).

Indoor facilities like gymnasiums remain closed in both cities and organized league play is still suspended.

The reopening allows OCASL Soccer to begin registration for restricted play (not team games but scrimmages) for small groups of players with similar skills. Fees are charged. Check website for signup info.

Public playgrounds throughout Orange County reopened Sep. 11. Hours are dawn to dusk.

Also reopening under the governor’s stage 2.5 announcement:

  • Picnic shelter reservations, up to a maximum of 25 people per reservation

  • Bocce court (Chapel Hill)

  • Dog park (Carrboro; those in other jurisdictions are already open)

  • Pump track (Carrboro)

  • Sand volleyball courts for 2v2 play (Chapel Hill)

  • Doubles play will be allowed at public tennis and pickleball courts

The display gardens at UNC’s N.C. Botanical Garden are open.

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Locally, all recreational programs, leagues remain canceled as well as special events, rec gatherings of more than 10 inside, 25 outside. Maintain social distancing at each venue or activity and follow posted rules.

In Chapel Hill, tennis and pickleball courts (singles only), skate park, disc golf, online hockey are open. They close at 8 p.m. daily. Parks, trails, greenways, dog parks in Chapel Hill open dawn to dusk. Amenities like playgrounds are closed, but restrooms are open. City indoor pools, ballfields, basketball, bocce courts and sand volleyball remain closed.

The outdoor pool (A.D. Clark) at Har­graves Center, Chapel Hill, is open on a limited basis with reservations required. Check the city rec website for the latest updates. Story this issue.

Carrboro parks are open including restrooms, picnic tables, disc golf, tennis courts (singles only). Closed are playgrounds, ballfields, bike pump track, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts. The fishing pond (state license required) and walking trail at Anderson Park are open. Trail systems at Adams Tract and Anderson are open. The walking trail at MLK Park is open.

Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools, fields and facilities are closed but track at Culbreth is open weekdays. Dirt walking trail at Carrboro Elementary, paved walking trail at Martin Lu­ther King Junior Park on Hillsborough Road are open.

At UNC, the outdoor track at Finley Fields is closed as are all campus fields, facilities except nature trails at Battle Park/Forest The­atre, Coker Arboretum. The UNC XC course is open for runners, walkers.

Hillsborough parks are open. Greenways like RiverWalk and trails are open, but there are few amenities.

Orange County rec programs, leagues and organized activities remain canceled. Black­wood Farm Park is open Thursday-Sunday 8-7. Hollow Rock Nature Area, Little River trails, Seven Mile Creek Preserve are open daily with some amenities.

Fairview including tennis courts, (singles only), Efland-Cheeks and Cedar Grove parks are open with some amenities. Central Rec Center and indoor facilities remain closed along with ballfields, outdoor basketball, vol­leyball courts courts. Orange County Sports­plex indoor pools are operating on a limited basis with reservations required. Fees are charged.

In Durham, parks, trails, greenways, tennis and pickleball courts, restrooms, disc golf, athletic fields, futsal, basketball courts, skate park downtown are open.

The American Tobacco Trail, 22 miles in Durham, Chatham, Wake, is open to runners, walkers, bikers.

OWASA lakes (University Lake, Cane Creek) are open for fishing, boating, birding, picnicking, sunbathing on a limited basis using random lottery drawings for reservations. Fees are charged. See website for details on how it works. No boat, motor ren­tals, swimming. Hours are 6:30 to 6 Friday through Sunday at UL, Fri/Sat at CC. Both are open Labor Day. See story this issue.

Durham city lakes (Lake Michie, Little River) are open on a limited basis using random text drawings for free admission. Texts required the day before you want to visit. Durham lakes operate Friday-Monday 6:30-6. No fees charged. LM for private boats only, bank fishing at Little River, no private boats. Check the website for info.

Eno River State Park is open with limited capacity. They have some tent backpacking campsites, Fews Ford and Cole Mill access are open along with trails, restrooms. Occo­nee­chee SNA, Hillsborough, is open for hikers.

Chatham County parks are open, operating normal hours, but playgrounds, basketball courts are closed. All rec programs, special events are canceled. In Pittsboro, parks, trails, tennis courts (singles only) are open. All playgrounds, basketball courts are closed. The Lower Haw SNA is open.

N.C. Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, has been closed since mid March. Nature preserves like adjacent Pied­mont Nature Trails are open. Battle Park, Ma­son Farm Biological Preserve are open from sunrise to sunset. Follow the posted rules at each.

Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) properties like Brumley Nature Preserve (North and South), north of Chapel Hill, are open. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. After rains, check website or TLC Facebook page for trail status.

In Wake County, parks, nature preserve grounds, trails are open. Programs, special events, rentals are canceled. Playgrounds, park centers remain closed.

Raleigh trails, greenways, nature preserves and general open spaces are open. Lakes (Wheeler, Johnson) are open 8-8 daily.

At Carolina North Forest, Chapel Hill, Airport and School side trails are open. Check trail status after rains at­pelhill.php.

Duke Forest (919-613-8013) is open for rec­reational use, but Duke Gardens are closed to visitors. Korstian division of the forest off Mount Sinai Road closed Aug. 3 for timber harvest.

Jordan Lake SRA reopening was paused.  Camping is available at Crosswinds, Parkers Creek, Poplar Point and New Hope Overlook (primitive). Camping is by advance reservation or online only. Check the Jordan SRA website for latest updates. No walk-ups and boat ramps are for campers only. Day use areas (swim beaches), visitor center and some boat ramps at the lake remain closed. Campers are reminded checkout time is 3 p.m. and check in is 4 p.m.

To ease traffic and parking congestion at New Hope and Seaforth boat ramps, only vehicles hauling boats or jet skis will be permitted to access the boat ramp area. No single vehicles will be allowed, if you are planning to meet with someone who has a boat or jet ski, work out a method of carpooling before arriving.

An entrance fee of $7 per vehicle ($5 for seniors,veterans/military) and $20 per bus/van will be collected for any vehicle that enters New Hope Overlook and Seaforth. Gates open at 8 and lock at 9. The fee is charged every day through Labor Day. During September, entry fees will be charged weekends only until the last weekend of the month.

The following Jordan facilities will re­main closed during Phase 2: Visitor center, Ebenezer boat ramp, day-use area, Seaforth, Parkers Creek day-use areas, Vista Point and White Oak. These closures include all hiking trails with the exception of New Hope Overlook. All beach areas, picnic areas, shelters, group campsites and boat ramps are closed.

New Hope Overlook boat ramp and trails are open. Robeson Creek canoe access and boat ramp are open. The Farrington and Poe’s Ridge boat ramps are open 24/7.