information on COVID-19 and Natural Lands’ response

March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020 8 am 

The health and safety of Natural Lands visitors, volunteers, and staff is our first priority. 

We are closely monitoring the situation regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and are continuing to follow recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials. 

Natural Lands nature preserves remain open to the public as places to engagin outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, or runningwhich are considered allowable individual activities as part of the stay-at-home orders for both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Social distancing must be maintained.   

All facilities, including restrooms, are closed to the public until further notice.  

Please know that we have never felt more committed to our mission and to you. The more than 120 miles of trails on our properties offer a perfect opportunity to engage in outdoor activity while, at the same time, experiencing the beauty and restorative nature of open space. We are so pleased to be able to offer this small but valuable public service at such a challenging time. 

That said, we ask our visitors for their cooperation in ensuring safety for all and their understanding as we must make certain modifications to public access. 

preserve visitation 

We welcome your visit, but require the following:  

  • Practice social distancing. This includes keeping six feet of space between you and others. 
  • Keep your dog on a leash and away from others at all times and clean up after your pets. 
  • Pick up after yourself. Bring a bag and carry out your trash. 
  • If the parking lot is full, you must leave and visit another time. The police may enforce this by ticketing and towing cars parked beyond our parking lot to help all visitors, community members, staff, and neighbors stay safe. If local authorities observe crowded roadways and trails, we will be forced to close. 
  • To help avoid exposure to COVID-19 and still enjoy the outdoors: 
  • Don’t hike or recreate in groups; only walk or hike with those under the same roof. 
  • Take hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly. 
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose. 
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow. 
  • If you are sick, stay home. 

Stoneleigh: a natural garden and Natural Lands’ headquarters 

  • Stoneleigh is closed to the public until further notice due to the staff and volunteer presence required to accommodate guests. 
  • Our headquarters building at Hildacy Preserve is closed until further notice. All staff are working remotely and can be reached via email or phone. If you leave a voicemail, staff can retrieve it remotely and return your call. Staff contact information is available here. 

public events  

  • All group events through May 15 have been cancelled, postponed, or made virtual. If you are registered for one of these events, you will be notified via email with any applicable details.  

social media 

  • We invite you to join us on social media, where we will continue to bring nature to you with images of our preserves and Stoneleigh, and where we’ll be expanding the Natural Lands experience through live streaming, video, virtual hikes, and ask-an-expert online conversations. 

We recognize that the situation is evolving and that our response may change depending on the guidance we receive from health officials in the various states and counties we serve. We will continue to update this page as needed. 

Public Health officials, along with all of us at Natural Lands, encourage those who are able to continue enjoying nature during this challenging time. Time spent in nature is associated with better health and well-being, and exposure to nature makes us feel better emotionally by reducing feelings of stress and fear. Fresh air, sunshine and outdoor activity are as important now as ever. 

Thank you for supporting Natural Lands in our mission to save open space, care for nature, and connect people to the outdoors. 

Helpful links:  

Photo: Ian Tittman