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Finding outdoor recreation during COVID-19

Trails, parks offer several options in the area

Editor’s note: Today we continue our weekly series highlighting how the economy is reopening, taking a specific look at outdoor recreation activities available.


The great outdoors remains a viable option for breaking up the monotony during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as events through the summer and fall continue to be canceled.

While trails and parks in Fort Dodge’s system have remained open throughout this year, patrons are now able to make new reservations for the open-air shelters, enclosed shelters at parks and cabins that keep folks close to the outdoors.

Cabins are available at Oleson, Snell-Crawford, Hydro-Electric and Loomis parks for $75 per day, with a $100 deposit. Open shelters at Oleson, Snell-Crawford, Phinney and Schmoker Family parks are available for $25 per day. Reservations can be made at fortdodgeiowa.org/parks or by calling 515-576-7237 and selecting option 3.

On June 23, Oleson Park reopened the splash pad with modifications after concerns that the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department might have difficulty keeping it properly sanitized.

The splash pad, a great option for families with kids to get outdoors and beat the heat, will have a limit of 25 people inside the fence at a time and require those inside the fence to maintain a distance of six feet from others while at play. Reservations of the splash pad are not available this summer.

Rosedale Rapids, which opened earlier this month, recently increased the number of allotted season passes from 100 — which sold out in minutes — to 200.

This year, the pools at Rosedale Rapids will be open to about one-fifth of usual capacity, with 225 swimmers allowed in the pools at a time. The aquatic center opened on Saturday.

The new number is based off the capacity that pools can handle while allowing swimmers to remain six feet apart. Before opening, the pool announced about 120 day pass holders would be allowed in per day.

Inside the gates, most of the usual fun will still be available. While the lazy river will be closed until July, most slides and the diving board will stay open.

When the lazy river is finished with repairs, it will reopen without inner tubes in July, as the inner tubes cannot be practically sanitized between each swimmer. The lap pool and recreation pool remain open. Reynolds allowed lap pools and swimming lessons to resume in May.

With U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance indicating that the water itself in properly-chlorinated pools poses no risk of spreading COVID-19, Rosedale Rapids could be an appealing option for families looking to beat the heat.

Though youth sports leagues have stalled a bit, adult leagues, tournaments and outings are getting back into the swing of things with modifications, according to Lori Branderhorst, director of Fort Dodge parks, forestry and recreation.

The city’s variety of tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, as well as disc golf courses, remain open, too.

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