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A letter from Olmsted Parks Conservancy President and CEO, Layla George:

These are strange times and the uncertainty and anxiety can be overwhelming. Most Americans are voluntarily distancing themselves from one another to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Governor and the Mayor have urged Louisvillians to practice proper hygiene and to limit contact with others, and all of us at Olmsted Parks Conservancy feel a responsibility to do the same.

In the best interest of our members, our volunteers, our staff, and our park users at large, all Olmsted Parks Conservancy volunteer events have been cancelled through April 5, and any scheduled community meetings will be held virtually or postponed.

But our parks remain open.

Our parks are full of trails to walk, hike or bike, and there is plenty of room to practice social distancing while enjoying nature’s best disinfectant – sunlight and fresh air.

Louisville is home to over 2200 acres of public green space in our Olmsted Parks in the West, South, and East ends of the city, connected by 15 miles of Olmsted Parkways. These vital greenspaces were intentionally designed and strategically placed to give everyone in the city—regardless of race, income, or background—access to walk, ride, or commute quickly and easily to the park.

And our friends at Louisville Parks and Recreation are going the extra mile to help ensure you have what you need (like handwashing stations) to maintain proper hygiene while in the park. In fact, all Louisville Metro employees are working overtime to keep us safe. If you see one, be sure to thank them.

Today we’re grateful for this rare gift given to all of us by the City and the Olmsted firm over a century ago, and even more thankful that Olmsted Parks Conservancy Members help us keep these parks open, beautiful, and vibrant in times like these. Thanks to you, we can continue to enjoy connection to nature and community (from a safe distance) in our Olmsted Parks.

Spring is a time for relaxation and renewal.  

Fortunately, spring is here. The days are getting longer, the trees are developing leaf buds and you can start to see the wildflowers popping up in the woodlands. Now is the time to get outside and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest. Turn off the alerts on your phone for an hour and take a walk in the park. It’s one of the best things you can do for your own physical and mental health.

Life is slowing down for all of us right now. Let’s try to fill the space with things that make us feel better – phone calls with friends, cooking from scratch for our families, and leisurely walks in the park.

Sending you all my best wishes for continued good health,

Layla George

President and CEO, Olmsted Parks Conservancy

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