Hillsborough County will open a majority of its nature preserves, officials announced Thursday.
The county will also open the boat ramp at E.G. Simmons Conservation Park on Saturday, May 2 at 8 a.m. Several conservation parks, along with walking trails at six neighborhood parks, will open on Monday, May 4, to give residents additional options for recreation and exercise.
While the parks will be open to the public, social distancing guidelines will still be required including limiting groups to 10 or fewer, six feet of space between nonfamily units and suggested use of facial coverings. Some parts of the parks including playgrounds, picnic areas and kayak and canoe facilities will remain closed.
The openings include all county nature preserves except for Apollo Beach.
The following conservation parks will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday:
— Flatwoods Conservation Park, 14302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, and 18205 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa
— Morris Bridge Off-Road Biking Area, 12651 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa
— Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park, 100 Alderman’s Ford Park Drive, Plant City, for hiking and biking only
— Upper Tampa Bay Trail and all parking areas
Walking trails ONLY will open at the following six neighborhood parks at 8 a.m. Monday:
— Jackson Springs Community Center, 8620 Jackson Springs Road, Tampa
— Northdale Community Center, 15550 Spring Pine Drive, Tampa
— Carrollwood Village Community Park, 4680 W. Village Drive, Tampa
— Ruskin Community Center, 901 6th St. SE, Ruskin
— Apollo Beach Community Center, 664 Golf and See Blvd., Apollo Beach
— All People’s Life Center, 6105 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa
These parks/preserves are the first to reopen since all County parks and preserves were closed in late March because of the COVID-19 coronavirus. All other parks remain closed.
The order does not pertain to city parks or facilities. Those reopening will be determined by city governments and leaders.
The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is currently meeting and expected to address reopening strategies to align with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ phase one reopening plan announced Wednesday, which takes effect Monday.