information on COVID-19 and Natural Lands’ response

May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

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 for outdoor recreation, but should be accessed in accordance with guidance provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources:

What does the stay-at-home order mean for outdoor recreation?

  • You can go outdoors to engage in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, or running if you maintain social distancing.
  • You can recreate in your neighborhood or a local park or trail that is nearest to your home. Look for locations within 15 minutes of your home.
  • Avoid crowded trails or parks. Find another local location or go during less popular hours.
  • You should not travel outside of your community to other outdoor locations across the state, such as state parks, forests, private camps, leased campsites, etc.
  • Be considerate. Consider wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.

All Natural Lands’ facilities, including restrooms, are closed to the public until further notice. (Be the first to get updates on preserves and other news: natlands.org/signup)

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. Keep six feet of space between you and others.
  • Hike, walk, or recreate only with members of your household. Avoid gathering in groups.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and away from others at all times. Please don’t leave your dog’s waste along the trail. Pick it up and take it out with you.
  • Pick up after yourself. Please carry out everything that you take in with you.
  • If the parking lot is full, you must leave and visit another time.  Making your own parking spaces damages the landscape. The police may enforce this by ticketing and towing cars parked outside of designated spots.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Restrooms are closed so “go” before you arrive.

Stoneleigh: a natural garden, Natural Lands’ headquarters, and the Lenfest Center 

  • 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. 
  • The Lenfest Center at ChesLen Preserve is closed to the public, including rented use of the space, until further notice.

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