Officials provide resources as hiking trails increase in popularity

Officials provide resources as hiking trails increase in popularity

Olivia Sandusky

PALM SPRINGS- Sunny skies and closed gyms have brought an increase of hikers out across the Coachella Valley.

“Literally the whole mountain is covered, and we were just at the cross right before this and same thing, the mountains are just packed with people,” said Jacqualine Ryan, a hiker from Palm Desert.

Many locals are worried about following COVID-19 health guidelines, and several people have taken to social media, suggesting trails close.

Officials report they’re following state standards and concerns can be shared with the city.

“Palm Desert’s code compliance hotline will take in any and all requests for service and we will do a lot of the digging on the appropriate follow up,” said Ryan Stendell.

The code compliance phone number is (760) 776-6360.

In areas like Indio and Palm Springs, authorities say police can break up crowds, and calling the non-emergency number or hotline is best.

“They need to make sure if they’re calling it’s because there’s a large concentration of people that are absolutely not adhering to the six feet of separation because we’re going to triage the call and respond them based on priority like any other call,” said Chief Reyes of the Palm Springs Police Department.

The Palm Springs coronavirus hotline is (760) 902-1155.

At State Parks like Mount San Jacinto, rangers have control of the trails.

“Our park rangers can actually go out and let the people there know that they can’t congregate in large crowds make sure they follow that six foot physical distance,” said Jorge Moreno, a spokesperson with the California State Parks.

Additional steps are also being taken at the city level.

“‘We’re talking about as simply as can we put ambassadors at trial heads in the next few weeks so I think soon you’ll start seeing those deployed,” said Stendell.

The goal is to keep the trails open throughout the pandemic.

“if we’re acting appropriately there’s no reason to think or fear that these trials might be closed,” said Stendell.