The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has announced that parks use in Allegheny County increased 135% during the period of July 12 through August 23, compared to baseline usage data. The increase was reported in the August 23 Pennsylvania COVID-19 Community Mobility Report published by Google, which is calculated using aggregated and anonymized Google user data.
“This Labor Day, access to safe outdoor spaces is as important as ever. As we’ve all adjusted to this new way of life with COVID-19 throughout the past several months, parks and green spaces have remained open and accessible, and proven themselves to be essential public amenities,” said Catherine Qureshi, chief operating officer, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “We are proud that during the pandemic, city parks have become trusted places for people to support their physical and mental well-being.”
Google reporting released over the past month confirms consistent increases in Allegheny County parks use throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on weekends. The August 23 report shows parks usage more than 100% above baseline for all seven weekends within the reporting period, and above baseline for all 42 days.
“As more Pittsburghers enjoy their parks this holiday weekend and beyond, caring for them becomes even more essential,” says Qureshi. “Maintaining healthy, beautiful parks remains challenging work, particularly considering today’s realities.”
In the coming weeks, the Parks Conservancy will launch a new, solo volunteer program to provide opportunities for individuals to help care for local parks independently. On September 26, the newly imagined PNC Pittsburgh Park Conservancy Hat Luncheon: Picnic in Your Park, which replaces the annual Spring Hat Luncheon—the non-profit’s largest annual fundraiser, originally scheduled for May 2—will provide another opportunity for people to celebrate and support the parks and the solace they provide.
Throughout COVID-19, the Parks Conservancy has provided resources to help people enjoy city parks. Earlier this summer, the Parks Conservancy launched Parks on the Go, which provides a full range of environmental programming and experiences for people eager to get outdoors during COVID-19. To protect the general health and well-being of the community, the Parks Conservancy continues to provide park users with up-to-date park information and new resources through its COVID-19 webpage and social media channels.