Russellville Parks, Rec opens trails, fishing

For many it has seemed like a long two months since Russellville Parks and Recreation closed down all pavilions, gyms, fields and other public outdoor facilities. Finally there is light at the end of the tunnel, as Parks and Recreation opened all walking trails and access to fishing to the public last week.

“I think everyone just being locked in at home has made a lot of people ready for things to start opening back up,” said Russellville Parks and Recreation Director Donnie Flanagan.

Flanagan said since walking trails and fishing locations reopened to the public, at least 100 people each day have taken advantage of each.

“I think especially because it is outside and people are able to remain spread out easier, a lot of people feel safer outside than being inside somewhere,” Flanagan said.

Those eager visitors include people like Bradley Foster, who said he has made several trips out to City Lake Park to fish since the fishing locations reopened.

“It was awesome, them opening, because we were starting to get cabin fever,” Foster said.

Foster said he and his grandson have caught three fish since fishing locations reopened. “Fishing is good right now.”

Flanagan said pavilions and playgrounds at these locations are still closed, and visitors are encouraged to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.

Russellville Parks and Recreation operates two fishing locations, City Lake and Sloss Lake, and three walking trails, one at Sloss Lake, one at City Lake and one at the league complex.

As far as other entities the department operates, gyms, tennis courts and all fields and batting cages continue to be closed until further notice. Flanagan said at this point, it is just a waiting game for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to announce it is safe for these operations to resume.

Flanagan said he and his staff are ready for people to be able to be outside and active through Parks and Recreation, but the future is still unknown.

The plan for spring sports season also remains a big question mark for now. Flanagan said he hopes to be able to conclude the spring sports season, but that will be determined after Ivey announces the next phase in social distancing restrictions. Flanagan said he expects the governor’s next update to shed some light on whether spring sports can resume, and a final decision will be made about spring sports no later than June 5.