“The picture in many people’s minds is the great outdoors — there’s plenty of space — but when you go to find access to that space there’s usually a parking lot and there’s usually a trail going from the parking lot,” he said, adding that paths in parks are designed to guide people to the best views or trails which naturally cause people to gather in those spots.Francis said despite the temptation to get a break from home, the public should consider the risk to society as a whole and only visit places where they can reasonably follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on limiting contact with others and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance in public.Communities near national parks have also raised concerns about the current number of visitors, saying they don’t have the resources to treat an influx of tourists that could potentially become sick in addition to their own residents.“These are in many cases rural communities that don’t have the facilities to handle a major outbreak if it were to occur and they want to protect the people that live in the county and you do the math and you jut can’t handle tourists on top of people that live in the county,” said Kristen Brengel, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association.Brengel said it was irresponsible for the National Park Service to invite people to parks during this pandemic and that they should have been more aggressive about telling people to avoid crowded areas. She described photos of people holding a chain at the top of a narrow trail to keep their footing and said it’s up to the park service to tell the public when visiting these spots is too much of a risk.“People are taking these risks with allowing the public to make these decisions for themselves and I think we’re learning after this weekend that parks need to be more proactive,” she said.The Interior Department and National Park Service did not immediately respond to questions about whether they were reconsidering the earlier guidance on Monday but said last week that they took steps to implement CDC guidelines and that park superintendents were “continuing to evaluate their park’s operations and determine the best ways to continue to serve the public, mitigate possible issues, and adjust operations, as necessary.”“We’ve encouraged people who do visit a park during this pandemic that they too should be following CDC guidance by maintaining safe distances and practicing ‘leave no trace’ to keep themselves, our communities, and our outdoor spaces safe and healthy during this time,” a Park Service spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.Brengel advised that if people want to visit a national park responsibly at this time to consider if you can follow trails that are off the beaten path or identify areas that are less popular.“If you’re going to a park you’re not familiar with and you’re relying on a map it’s probably better to just reschedule,” she added.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved Manel Vinuesa/iStock(WASHINGTON) — National Park Service staff and communities around the national parks issued pleas for the visiting public to consider the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus in national parks, saying that despite the desire to get out of their homes, crowded trails or parking lots could be creating an unnecessary risk for visitors and staff.Many of the sites operated by the National Park Service have closed completely or blocked public access to certain areas or services where officials determined they couldn’t maintain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to avoid crowds and keep people separate.But some are mostly open and posted on social media that residents and tourists seemed to flock to the outdoor spaces.Shenandoah National Park asked on social media that people forego the park’s main trails for less popular areas, saying some areas became so congested they had to be closed.The National Mall’s social media accounts have been sharing photos of the cherry blossoms and asked people not to visit the Tidal Basin area. Local officials have closed roads and public transit to the area, saying on Saturday that it was “increasingly difficult to maintain effective social distancing.”Zion National Park also posted a photo of people hiking a crowded Angels Landing Trail on Saturday and asked visitors to reconsider narrow trails and to practice social distancing.The requests seemed to support the concerns of some advocates who criticized the Interior Department’s decision last week to suspend entrance fees and welcome visitors to national parks as a respite from their social isolation at home. In that announcement Interior Secretary David Bernhardt called public lands “special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.”The National Park Service said Monday that the health and safety of employees and visitors are the number one priority and that they are taking “extraordinary steps” to implement the latest CDC guidance.“As states and local governments announce further efforts to combat COVID-19, decisions on modifications to park operations are being made on a park-by-park basis. Visitor services, other than those of public and resource protection (such as law enforcement and trash removal), will be limited or suspended,” the park service said in a statement, adding that they ask visitors to clean up after themselves and that park rangers will remain on dutyBut the park service said outdoor spaces will stay open and free to the public as long as they can follow the CDC guidelines, despite criticism from advocates who say the agency should have taken a more aggressive stance to tell people stay away from potential crowds, even in national parks.“We needed to close in order to reach the goals that most Americans would agree are important, that is to flatten the curve, make sure hospitals have adequate resources and make sure the National Park Service doesn’t inadvertently create a bigger problem,” said Phil Francis, a former park superintendent and chairman of the Coalition to Protect America’s Parks.The coalition represents hundreds of retired park service employees and Francis said they heard almost immediately from members who were concerned about their colleagues who would continue to work despite calls for people to stay at home and prevent the spread of the virus. Though many parks closed some areas, such as visitor centers, where people could come in close contact, Francis said there are other areas in parks where it is difficult to prevent crowding.
Today:If you’re worried about catching a cold, there’s a simple act that may protect you against the virus and help you feel better right away: hug someone.Hugging can help prevent a cold virus or lessen symptoms in people who are already sick, according to a recent study published in Psychological Science.We’re told to avoid sweaty, germy handshakes during cold and flu season, but the warm embrace of a close friend or loved one may actually improve immune system functioning, says Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and lead author of the study.Stress lowers the body’s defenses against viruses and other pathogens, research has shown.For the new study, Cohen and his colleagues rounded up 404 healthy adult volunteers, who were asked to fill out questionnaires to determine, among other things, whether and how often they’d been hugged during a two-week period and whether they’d experienced conflict or tension. Then the participants were deliberately exposed to the cold virus and immediately moved to quarantine for a week, while researchers monitored them for signs of infection and illness.Read the whole story: Today More of our Members in the Media >
Full screen in popup Carter Jonas has hired Julia Wilson as an associate partner in its residential sales team in Oxford. Oliver Sherriff has joined CBRE as a surveyor in its agency team in Southampton. Previous GVA has appointed Jonathan Davies as associate director in its Cardiff valuation team. In addition, Hayley McCarthy and Jodie Al-Khafaji join as graduate surveyors in the building consultancy team and agency team respectively.Jacqui Fishwick has joined APAM as property manager in its Manchester office. She has more than 10 years’ experience, most recently as portfolio manager at Assura.Carter Jonas has hired Julia Wilson as an associate partner in its residential sales team in Oxford. She moves from Penny & Sinclair, where she was an associate.Tim Grierson has been recruited by Delva Patman Redler as head of dilapidations in its London team. He joins from Cushman & Wakefield.MDA Consulting has welcomed Lee Gurney as an associate director.CBRE Manchester has recruited five graduates: Megan Hanney joins the office agency team; Dan Margolis joins commercial valuation; James Berry joins the industrial agency team; Jennifer Craig joins building consultancy; and Francis Hill joins the planning and development team.Anne Baker has moved to Lambert Smith Hampton’s property management team. She was formerly a partner at King Sturge.Ingleton Wood has appointed Memo Ngwenya as a quantity surveyor in its London office.Guy Horswell has been made land and planning assistant at Strategic Land Group.Savills venture Workthere has hired Ed Bouterse as its head in the Netherlands. Previously, he worked at Regus.Oliver Sherriff has joined CBRE as a surveyor in its agency team in Southampton. He previously worked for Portsmouth City Council.Avison Young has made a series of promotions and appointments: James Goode, Harry Skinner and Mark Cooke are promoted to associate director; Scott Meakin joins as a graduate surveyor; Glenn Taylor joins as a surveyor; and Emma Dutton joins as an administrator.Jordan Clarke has moved to Trident Building Consultancy as an assistant building surveyor in its Birmingham office.The Howard de Walden Estate has appointed Jenny Casebourne and Andrea Merrington to its management team. Casebourne recently joined the estate as head of retail and restaurants. Merrington has been with the estate for nine years and leads its planning team.George Craig has been hired by Savills as an associate director in its development team in Norwich. Previously, he worked at Targetfollow in Norwich. Before that he spent nine years in London as a consultant. In addition, Jonathan Prince joins as associate director in the development team in Reading. He has more than 10 years’ experience and previously worked at JLL. Savills venture Workthere has hired Ed Bouterse as its head in the Netherlands. GVA has appointed Jonathan Davies as associate director in its Cardiff valuation team. Anne Baker has moved to Lambert Smith Hampton’s property management team. George Craig has been hired by Savills as an associate director in its development team in Norwich. 1/7 show caption Next Jordan Clarke has moved to Trident Building Consultancy as an assistant building surveyor in its Birmingham office.