Learn, Adapt, Move Forward

It's just over six months from the day that the World Health Organization first declared that COVID-19 had grown to pandemic proportions.

Over the past six months, the pandemic has made many things clear, revealing both negatives and positives about how we live and interact with one another and the world.

Among those revelations is how very crucial our parks and trails and other outdoor spaces are for our health and wellness. But it's not just that. All recreation, sports and fitness facilities meet a wide range of human needs, from fitness and physical health to socialization and emotional health to conservation and ecological health and beyond.

Many parks and open spaces, trails and more never closed, and the public flocked to these remaining respites as all their usual haunts were shuttered to encourage people to stay home. By May, sales of equipment for outdoor recreation like bicycles and kayaks, camping and other rec gear were soaring as people replaced their typical summer getaways with family fun closer to home. As one spokesman for a bicycle dealer described it to me, "Bikes became the new toilet paper. You couldn't keep them on the shelf."

And then, as facilities began to reopen, from swimming pools with new guidelines and reservation systems in place to indoor fitness facilities with new requirements for class sizes and mask-wearing, people headed back to get their fill of their favorite activities.

Now schools from kindergarten through college have begun classes—virtually or in person, or a mix of both, depending on the district. The Big Ten Conference has announced that it will play football this year after all. Many communities have slowly wound their youth sports programs back up, though with limits in place.

We learn. We adapt. We move forward.

The coming year will be challenging as we continue to deal with the fallout of the pandemic. But without a doubt, recreation, sports and fitness facilities are essential to our well-being and dramatically improve our quality of life.

This month, to help you stay on top of updates and operations at your own facility, whether you're fully reopened, partially reopened or planning to get things rolling again, we've got a diverse lineup of stories to generate new ideas and help you learn, adapt and move forward. From outdoor fitness and its impact on public health to aquatic equipment that can expand the appeal of your pool, from what you should know about adding restrooms at your site to what you can learn from military recreation and how it has adapted to better serve those who serve, we've got plenty of ideas for you here.

Be safe out there!

And be well,

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management

[email protected]