Willamalane and Eugene Park and Recreation Groups Band Together

Social distancing doesn’t need to mean social isolation.


SPRINGFIELD – Willamalane and Eugene Parks and Recreation groups band together with a common message: Social distancing doesn’t need to mean social isolation.

Getting outdoors and finding ways to exercise at home are great options when it comes to staying healthy while helping stop the spread of the Coronavirus. That’s why Willamalane, City of Eugene Recreation, the Eugene Family YMCA, and River Road Park & Recreation District are working together to promote healthy programming in new, creative channels.

“I am so proud how the Willamalane team is stepping up to find new, innovative ways to deliver exceptional parks and recreation to our community all while supporting each other and keeping spirits high,” said Michael Wargo, Superintendent for Willamalane. “Our community has never needed us more, and our team is responding by keeping our parks safe and sanitary and by producing recreation programming through new channels. The Eugene and Springfield area parks and recreation organizations are united and committed to providing the community with safe outlets to escape these challenging times.”

The Eugene Family YMCA is opening its virtual doors to the community to support health and wellness and mental well-being. The Y's fitness instructors have been creating fitness classes in the Y's Movement Center and uploading them to the Eugene Family YMCA's YouTube page. More are being created each day and they are available to anyone cleared by their physician to exercise. Willamalane has similar free resources available online, too.

 "One of the many ways we help the community is by combating social isolation and its side effects of depression, anxiety and loneliness," said Brian Steffen, CEO of the Eugene Family YMCA. "That's why it is so important during this time of safety-related physical and social distancing that we join with our partners to reach the most community members and offer connection from familiar, friendly faces. It will always serve Lane County best if nonprofits like ourselves work with other nonprofits and our government leaders--collaboratively and collectively."

Local parks and trails:

In a time of social distancing, local recreation agencies are partnering to spread the word about what it means to be safe outdoors. Many local parks and trails are quickly becoming crowded, and not everyone is taking the social distancing recommendations into account.

While all four agencies want to encourage getting active and outdoors, it’s vital to follow the current social distancing recommendations, indoors and out. National Parks and Recreation Association published the following guidelines:

  • Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use trails if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.
  • Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.
  • Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.
  • Note that trail and park users may find public restrooms closed — be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
  • Bring water or drinks — public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
  • Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers

Willamalane parks have signs at some trailheads, parks, and playgrounds to help remind residents of these social distancing recommendations.


Local parks currently do not have the resources to maintain constant sanitization of playground equipment. Residents should use caution when using shared playground equipment.

“Outdoor activities are important for adults and children of all ages,” said Jase Newton, Superintendent of River Road Park & Recreation District. “During these difficult times, it is important to remember that contact with playground equipment or other individuals should be avoided.  If you or your child has been in contact with any park equipment, make sure to wash your hands and follow the CDC’s guidelines.  But just because you shouldn’t use the playground doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun!  Walk to your nearest park and read a book.  Play that game of hide and seek.  But most important… stay active and healthy!”

How to access programming:

Willamalane has fitness videos, activities for kids at home, and a list of parks and trails on its website willamalane.org. All facility and program updates will be available online as well.

Eugene Rec is developing online videos and activities to keep our community active and connected. Stay tuned to the City of Eugene Recreation Facebook and Instagram pages.

Eugene Family YMCA's has fitness videos available on its YouTube page, and the national YMCA also has virtual workouts available.

River Road Park & Recreation District is developing arts and crafts videos for children that will be available for anyone following spring break.  These videos, along with all facility and program updates are available at http://www.rrpark.org.



Media information:

Willamalane Park and Recreation District
Willamalane Park and Recreation District maintains and operates five recreation facilities and 46 parks and natural areas totaling nearly 1,500 acres. Highlights include 10 waterfront areas, 29 miles of hiking and biking trails, 9 turf and 4 synthetic sports fields and 27 playgrounds. Willamalane offers recreation programs to people of all ages and abilities. Created by voters in 1944, Willamalane is a special tax district, separate from the city of Springfield, with its own boundaries. It is governed by a five-member, elected board of directors and managed by a district superintendent. More information is available at willamalane.org.

Primary media contact at Willamalane is Whitney Hoshaw, Community Engagement and Public Relations Supervisor. Available by phone and email: 503-702-0854 or whitney.hoshaw@willamalane.org.

About Eugene Rec

Since 1927, City of Eugene Rec has built social connections and enhanced the wellness and livability of the greater Eugene community. Eugene Rec creates access to transformative activities for youth and adults, leading to growth in confidence, leadership and lifelong success. Eugene Rec programming spans all ages and abilities, with five areas of service: Adaptive, Aquatics, Athletics, Seniors, and Youth and Family. For more info, visit getrec.org.


Primary media contact at Eugene Rec is Sarah-Kate Sharkey, Community Engagement Manager. Available by phone and email: 541-513-9858 or sksharkey@eugene-or.gov.


About Parks and Open Space

Parks and recreation in Eugene is a large and diverse system of beautiful, inspiring places that foster personal community and environmental health. The Parks and Open Space Division strives to protect, enhance and maintain Eugene’s 4,780 acres of parks and open spaces for healthy people, community and environment. For more information, visit eugene-or.og/parks.


Primary media contact at Parks and Open Space is Kelly Shadwick, Community Engagement Manager. Available by phone and email: 541-682-4901 or KShadwick@eugene-or.gov.

Eugene Family YMCA
The Eugene Family YMCA is one of the region's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Each year across Lane County, the Y engages more than 18,000 people regardless of age, gender, income or background--- to nurture the potential of children, teens and seniors; improve health and well-being; and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In 2019, the Eugene Family YMCA awarded $464,675 in financial assistance. The YMCA has been serving the Eugene-area since 1887.

Primary media contact at the Eugene Family YMCA is Beth Casper, Marketing and Communications Manager. Available by phone and email: 503-302-8776 or beth@eugeneymca.org.

River Road Park & Recreation District

River Road Park & Recreation District’s mission is to provide exceptional park and recreation facilities, programs, and services to enhance the livability of the River Road community and the people it serves.  Developed by voters in 1955, River Road Park & Recreation District is a special tax district, separate from the City of Eugene.  Five elected board members govern the District with management from the Superintendent.  District facilities include a gymnastics building, multi-use community center, and an aquatics and fitness center offering programs for people of all ages and abilities.

Primary media contact at River Road Park & Recreation District is Jase Newton, Superintendent. Available by phone and email: 541-688-4052 or jasen@rrpark.org.

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