The Coastal Watershed Council is committed to supporting you in safely enjoying the Santa Cruz Riverwalk and San Lorenzo River. As you strive to keep up with the changing COVID situation in Santa Cruz County, now there’s a new resource to turn to: Lookout Santa Cruz has just launched a one-stop information center, COVID 2021, which includes impacts on K-12 education, the economy, vaccine updates and more. It’s easily available on your desktop or phone and it’s free – but if you do sign up as a new Lookout member, please select the Coastal Watershed Council as a beneficiary of your membership. And check out Lookout’s free COVID forum on Jan. 21, featuring County Health Officer Gail Newel, UCSC’s Marm Kilpatrick and Erica Padilla-Chavez of Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance.

As we all stay informed and roll with the pandemic’s evolving challenges, keep in mind how outdoor recreation and reflection can aid our overall health. Spending time in nature responsibly can still be a valuable part of our coping strategies and for many it’s critical for mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Trust yourself and stay home if you feel safer that way (or if you’re not 100% healthy); you can enjoy a virtual Riverwalk tour like this one CWC filmed with the Santa Cruz Warriors, among other ways to explore the river remotely. If you do head out, for your own safety and for the health of everyone, please:

  • Avoid gathering in groups from outside your household.
  • Pay attention to whether a park is open or closed and realize that drinking fountains and restrooms could be turned off/closed.
  • Follow CDC guidelines: stay 6 feet apart from others. Actually, be social, but practice physical distancing with others!
  • Wear your mask any time you leave your home.
  • Recreate locally, such as on the Riverwalk!

CWC badly wants to return to hosting River Health Days and leading in-person student field trips, water quality monitoring and family-friendly events at the river. Until this virus is under control, the best thing we can all do for river and community health is support one another in every way we can think of. Thanks, everyone, for finding the balance between caring for ourselves through healthy routines and considering how we’ll get through this pandemic with as much grace and grit as we’re going to need.

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