DelVal Outdoors News Roundup, April 9, 2020

The Wissahickon Creek rolls on at a good clip following overnight storms on April 8, 2020. [Photo: Kyle Bagenstose]

By Kyle Bagenstose

Today’s headlines and highlights

This morning starts us off surprisingly sunny and nice. My iPhone had been predicting a kind of gray day with early afternoon storms and then wind. But as of mid-morning it is quite beautiful outside, although there looks to still be a chance of storms and subsequent winds. This may not age well.

If you’ve got 15 minutes and have an interest in Philadelphia parks, spend it on this episode of WHYY’s The Why. Host Shai Ben-Yaacov interviews Plan Philly’s Meir Rinde and WHYY’s Catalina Jaramillo about the past, present, and future of Philly parks. They do a great job articulating some of the angst I’ve felt as an outdoor-lover in Philadelphia: parks remain open, but they also remain crowded. Are they at risk of closure? How could our relationships to open spaces change post-COVID19? They also dive into a fascinating history of the development of parks as a remedy to protect public health and ward off water-borne diseases.

If you’re wondering which parks and trails are open in the Delaware Valley, check out our living list of what’s open and closed. We published it yesterday but will try and keep it up to date throughout the crisis.

New Jersey

Not much to report from the Garden State, where Gov. Phil Murphy’s closure order for all state and county parks remains in effect. NJ.com’s Brent Johnson and Matt Arco report that Murphy has received some pushback for the decision, particularly from Republicans and proponents of public spaces in dense urban areas. But, he shows no signs of relenting in the foreseeable future in order to continue clamping down on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Pennsylvania

The Inquirer continues its robust coverage of the coronavirus, including its impact to our open spaces. Environmental reporter Frank Kummer reported how cleanup efforts in Philly and elsewhere have been more or less completely shuttered. It comes at a particularly bad time of year, when environmental groups and watershed associations are typically ramping up spring cleaning volunteer efforts. I personally have seen quite a bit of litter during visits to my park of choice, Wissahickon Valley, and plan on toting a garbage bag or two for a solo cleanup next time I go. In lieu of organized efforts, everyone should try and do their part to keep our parks clean and open.

The Inquirer also continues to write about the status of the city’s parks and recreational centers. Reporter Allison Steele detailed what’s open and what’s not (and what’s being used even though it’s supposed to be closed), and architecture critic Ingra Saffron penned an opinion piece on the importance of public spaces (even those that may be owned privately *cough Rivers casino cough*) to remain open during these challenging times.

In Chester County, Inquirer business reporter Andrew Maykuth wrote that there was apparently some confusion at the state level regarding the construction of the controversial Mariner East pipeline. Backing company Energy Transfer LP had announced Tuesday it received waivers to complete construction work at several sites on the project, causing an outcry among opponents. But those permits were rescinded by the Wolf administration Wednesday for unclear reasons, Maykuth reports.

In Montgomery County, the Schwenksville Post writes that the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy’s annual Perkiomen Native Plant Sale is still a go for the entire month of may. But it’s also going virtual, with online sales followed by in-person pickup. Still, a nice way to continue supporting a local environmental organization during what may still be a largely-shuttered world come May.

Out of Harrisburg, The PA Environment Digest highlights a new website to report illegal dumping in the state, run by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. Graffiti reports can also be submitted, photos can be included, and the information will be sent to appropriate authorities and conservancy groups.

And that’s the rundown of today’s environmental news in the Delaware Valley. See something we didn’t cover? Drop me a line at Kyle@delvaloutdoors.com.

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