COVID 19 Information
MAY 21, 2021 UPDATE
The past 15 months have been difficult on everyone. There has been loss of time with family and friends, death of loved ones, and stress generated like never before. During this time, the Board of Directors and our staff have strived to keep Winding Trails open, safe, and enjoyable for all of you. It has not been easy but was certainly very rewarding as we have seen usage of Winding Trails and participation in our programs at an all-time high.
As we move to the unofficial start of summer, we want to share with you that we have continued to monitor this COVID-19 situation and all local, state, and federal guidelines. The Board of Directors and our Risk Management Committee have held multiple meetings and discussed and debated what safety protocols we should continue with and which ones should be removed. The trends in our State are looking very good, but we need to keep in mind that the virus is still active, and a large portion of our population are children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated at this time.
Our goal has been and always will be the safety of you, your family, and our staff. We understand that all our decisions have not been welcomed by everyone. This pandemic is a subject that has divided the entire country. With that said, we have managed to keep the park open and safe, and we want to ensure it stays that way.
The Board of Directors has implemented the following policies changes for this year (these are subject to change):
(This policy is being implemented because 68% of our members surveyed last year were in favor of this change. These holidays are historically very crowded, and our priority is our members.)
Winding Trails is a wonderful community, and we appreciate all your support. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work through this pandemic. On behalf of the Board of Directors and our staff, we wish you a wonderful and safe summer.
April 6, 2021 Update
Winding Trails Staff and Board of Directors continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and keep updated with local, state, and national recommendations. Although things are getting better with restrictions lessoning and vaccinations increasing, we are certainly not through this yet.
Winding Trails will have policies and protocols in place this summer. At this time, Winding Trails plans to have the following in place for this summer. This list is subject to change and could be increased or decreased based on a number of factors.
• Dunning Lake beach will be fenced off again this summer and capacity limits will be in place.
• There will be no rafts placed out in the water.
• The playgrounds and basketball courts will be open and wearing of masks by participants will be recommended.
• Sailboats will be available for rent.
• Masks will be required in the Bathhouse and at the Grille area or if you cannot socially distance.
• Members will be able to bring a limited number of guests per day and per month (specific numbers will be determined at a later date).
• Member’s Guests will not be allowed in the park on Monday, May 31st, Sunday, June 20th, Sunday, July 4th, and Monday, September 6th due to historic crowding on these holidays.
• All member guests must be registered in advance on our website and park outside the gate.
• Group outings will be reduced by 80% and not permitted to swim
December 14, 2020 UPDATE
Winding Trails is committed to keeping our patrons and employees safe and healthy during this difficult time. With the help of Mother Nature, we plan to be open for all our winter activities with new protocols and guidelines in place to keep everyone safe. Please review the following before coming out.
PLANNING YOUR VISIT
• Visit our website to check current conditions: https://www.windingtrails.org/cross-country-ski/current-conditions/
• A trail pass is required in advance for all nonmembers who may want to ski, sled, snowshoe, or skate. Passes must be purchased online here. Nonmember passes are limited.
• The Ski Center building itself will not be open. All transactions will be handled through service windows. Patron will be permitted one at a time for ski retail business or use of the restroom.
• Personal items may not be stored in the Ski Center building. Please lock them in your vehicle.
• Equipment rentals will be handled through the service windows and brought to you outside.
• A limited food menu will be available from our concession stand for takeout only. The Ski Center will not be open for indoor dining.
• Outside benches and picnic tables will be available.
• The warming hut for skating will not be open this year. Benches will be available outside for putting on your skates.
• Walking on the groomed ski trails is not permitted.
• Dogs (other than service animals) are not permitted on property at any time.
• We take all major credit cards, checks and cash.
WHAT WE ARE DOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE
• Face Coverings: Our employees are required to wear face coverings and we require masks for all patrons when they cannot socially distance.
• Temperature Checks / Health Questionnaire: Prior to beginning work each day, employees have their temperature checked and are asked a series of health questions.
• Contact Tracing: All nonmembers participating in winter activities must purchase passes online thus providing all their information should we need to contact trace. This information will not be shared or sold to any other vendor.
• Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer stations will be available, and we have posted reminders about the importance of hand cleanliness.
• Social Distancing: We require that our employees maintain a social distance of six feet from others whenever possible. We strongly urge all visitors to do the same and have posted signage to that effect.
• Sanitizing Teams: Our employees are performing enhanced sanitizing throughout the day on high-touch surfaces and all rental equipment.
September 9, 2020 UPDATE
Winding Trails is now allowing members to bring REGISTERED guests to the park. To register your guests, please go to: https://www.windingtrails.org/guests/ and to use prepaid guest passes, please use this form: https://www.windingtrails.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Guest-COVID-Form.pdf. Thank you.
June 12, 2020 UPDATE
We hope you and your family are all doing well. Data around COVID-19 in our state continues to trend in the right direction. The Governor has plans for the state to move into Phase 2 on June 17th which will open up more businesses and opportunities for people to get “back to normal”. We do want to caution people that just because we are moving to Phase 2, this thing is not over. Although, the Northeast is trending downward, that is not the case for the whole country. In fact, 23 states have seen increases over the last two weeks. There is a real possibility that our numbers could increase as well if we don’t continue taking precautions. We understand that many people are getting inpatient with the social distancing and face mask requirements, but these are easy critical steps that you can take to prevent the spread of this virus.
We want to thank all of you who have followed our new policies. They are inconvenient for everyone but absolutely necessary in these times. These mandates are not easy for our staff to enforce and we need your assistance in making this work. Please keep the following in mind as you continue to come out and enjoy the park.
Once again we thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation in helping to keep Winding Trails safe and open. We have a special community here and we need your support in making this all work. We are all in this together. Be safe and hope to see you at the park.
May 20, 2020 UPDATE
The 2020 summer season is upon us and it will be like no other year. This global pandemic has turned the world upside down and forced us to implement new rules and policies which have been communicated to you over the last several months. We have been very pleased to remain open through all of this and realize our real challenge will come in the coming months. We ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to adapt to the latest State mandates and work to keep the park open and safe for all of you. Please keep the following in mind as our busy season begins:
No Guests – Beginning May 23rd we will no longer be allowing guests to enter the park. This change has been implemented to limit the number of people in the park and reduce our risk.
Entering the Park – Vehicles must roll down your windows so the gate attendant can verify the occupants in your car. Our gate attendants will keep a safe distance and be wearing a mask. There should only be individuals listed on the membership in your vehicle. If anyone has a fever, experienced coughing or shortness of breath, loss sense of taste or smell, or been around anyone who has been sick, they should not be coming to the park. Also, please be sure your vehicle has a sticker displayed on the lower left side of your window.
Facemasks – All members of your family should possess a face mask or covering. Children under the as of 2 are not required to wear a mask. Masks should be worn if you are using the Bathhouse, ordering food at the Grille concession area, entering the vending room, or waiting to rent a boat. You should also wear a mask if you cannot keep a safe distance of six feet between you and another person.
Social Distancing – Present State mandates require that all nonfamily members must social distance by at least 6ft. Although you may be comfortable having friends and relatives near you at your own home, we ask that you do social distance here at the park. Everyone needs to be respectful of others people’s concerns around this sensitive issue.
Dunning Lake Beach Access – With the COVID-19 issue, we will be tracking the number of people on the beach. The beach area has been fenced off and access will only be permitted at the center of the beach. Park staff will be present to count the people on the beach. There will only be a limited number of people allowed on the beach due to social distancing. People in the picnic areas will be permitted to enter for swimming only. There will be only single poled umbrellas allowed on the beach this year and no beach games. Also please do not “circle” chairs either. Beach space will be at a premium this year.
Swimming – The lake will be open for swimming on Saturday, May 30th at 10am. The park is open daily but no lifeguards will be on duty until May 30th. Also please keep in mind that Dunning Lake will be closed for swimming at 5pm on Monday, June 8th for the annual weed treatment.
Picnic Tables: Reserving of picnic tables are not allowed. Picnic tables have been placed for social distancing around the beach and a new picnic area has been created on the west side of the peninsula near overflow parking. Please bring your own tablecloth to use on the picnic tables. The upper camp pavilions and sports fields will also be available to you on weekends.
The Grille – Our concession stand will be open once again this season starting weekends only from May 30th through June 7th. The Grille will be open seven days a week from 11am – 7pm beginning on Saturday, June 13th.
No Dogs Allowed – Winding Trails does not allow pets in the park, with the exception of service animals. If you have a service animal, please make sure they are wearing the proper identification. Pets cannot be left in cars.
No Glass Containers – All beverages in the park should be in cans or plastic cups only.
Smoking Policy – Smoking is prohibited from the Dunning Lake beach and picnic area. If you must smoke we ask that you go out to the road.
Trash/Recycling – Please help keep the park clean and conserve by putting your trash in the proper receptacles.
Our goal has always been to provide you and your family with a clean and safe recreation facility. This pandemic will make this goal even more challenging this year. Your cooperation in making this all work and keeping our wonderful park open is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
May 12, 2020 UPDATE
Here is a video message from our Executive Director: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNP1p0JmG-M&t=2s&fbclid=IwAR16awRIAEmExBBJVvLhZPHLopVQnujFOVRSMKZ1DBUilTbf-A8Ikf1RQU0
The past two months have been like no other time. This pandemic has cost the lives of thousands of people, put thousands more out of work, and disrupted life as we know it. Although we have had to cancel programs and close some facilities, the park has remained open throughout this crisis.
As we move to our State’s plan to “reopen”, Winding Trails would like to provide you with the similar “experiences” you and your family have always known and appreciated. Doing this will be challenging, but we are committed to making this happen.
From everything that has been communicated to us so far, there are going to be several guidelines we will all need to follow. Currently, these are going to include the continued practice of social distancing, wearing of masks in certain situations, instructional signs, and additional cleaning.
As the weather improves, it has become very clear that we are going to have capacity issues. The beach itself can only hold so many people and with social distancing, that capacity will be much smaller.
The safety of our members and staff is our top priority. The Board of Directors has adopted a plan to include new policies, physical changes, additional staff, and new signage. The following changes are being implemented until further notice:
• Beginning Saturday, May 23rd members will no longer be permitted to bring guests into the park. Gate attendants will need to verify occupants in your car. Please roll down your windows.
• Signage with health-related questions will be posted at the gate. If you are sick you should not be coming to the park.
• Everyone entering the park must possess a facemask. They will be required for anyone using the Bathhouse, ordering food from the Grille, and paying for a boat rental. They should also be worn if you cannot remain 6ft apart from anyone who is not a family member.
• The beach has been fenced off with access only permitted from the center of the beach near the playscape. All beach attendees will be counted, and this area will be closed once capacity is reached.
• Posted signs will indicate how to safely access and vacate the beach and swimming areas.
• There will be a separate section of the beach exclusively reserved for older members or those with underlying health conditions.
• No “circling” of chairs will be permitted so we may preserve valuable beach space.
• There will be a clearly marked “12-foot walkway” for single-file access and exit from the water for anyone who is in the picnic area and wants to swim.
• Open water swimming is strictly prohibited outside the designated swim areas.
• No one will be allowed to sit within 12 feet of the water’s edge. This space will be left open for people to freely access the water with social distancing.
• Rafts will not be put out this summer.
• Only single poled shade umbrellas will be allowed on the beach. No large shade structures. Ball throwing, yard games, etc. will also not be permitted in this area.
• Picnic tables have been placed for social distancing around the beach and a new picnic area has been created on the west side of the peninsula near overflow parking. The upper camp pavilions and sports fields will also be available to you on weekends.
We understand that these new policies may not be popular but feel very strongly these are necessary to keep everyone safe and remain open under Connecticut State COVID-19 safety guidelines. If certain individuals refuse to follow these new rules, then they will be subject to a suspension or revocation of their membership privileges.
The mandate of social distancing is a Connecticut State requirement. It is considered one of the best actions we can take to stop the spread of this contagious disease. We ask for your support and assistance with distancing both on land and in the water. We do not expect family members living in the same household to distance. However, you should socially distance yourself from friends, maintaining the recommended 6 feet separation distance, even though you may be comfortable getting closer with them.
Please keep in mind that not all family members look alike. We ask that you do not pass judgement on a group because you think they are not related. Conversely, we ask that everyone be respectful of those that may be compromised or overly concerned seeing people not socially distancing. It is also especially important for you to constantly remind your children of this fact. We all need to work together for this to be successful. Additional Park staff will be located across our park to help enforce safe traffic flow and social distancing practices.
We will be offering summer camp this year. It is going to look quite different, but we are delighted to offer our children this experience. With the social distancing, we will be unable to offer busing. This means every child will need to be dropped off and picked up. With this in mind, we strongly suggest avoiding entering or exiting the park during the hours of 8:30am – 9:30am and 3:00pm – 4:00pm weekdays from June 29th to August 21st.
The staff and Board of Directors will continue to monitor the situation and make changes, as necessary. If capacity becomes a problem, we may have to take the unprecedented action of closing the park on busy days. We also have a contingency plan to segment the membership and limit your attendance to certain days of the week or times of the day. We are hoping not to take these measures. Please keep this in mind when you do spend time on the beach. Limit your time on the beach and perhaps explore some of the other 380 acres of natural beauty our park has to offer.
Communication of this information is critical. These are the policies currently in place and know that there will likely be changes as we move forward. We will communicate any changes in advance of implementation through regular emails to membership, posts on our website and Facebook page, and communication at the gate.
Winding Trails is a wonderful community. We have always prided ourselves on being a group of individuals with a shared love for the outdoors, family, and our fellow citizens. A time like this should bring us together, not tear us apart. We need your help to make this work.
Be kind, be safe, and stay strong.
Your Backyard...The Way It Should Be
Winding Trails, Inc. is a non-profit organization serving people from Farmington and surrounding communities, providing year round recreational and educational activities for the enjoyment and growth of families and individuals of all ages. Winding Trails is dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of the natural woodlands and waterways that allow outdoor programming, character development, and other activities that strengthen the lives of those we serve.