No walk in the park for Americans struggling with cabin fever amid coronavirus crisis

By Marjie Lundstrom : salon – excerpt

Government officials and advocacy groups are trying to stem the tide of visitors seeking a nature fix

By the time Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California closed today — this time for real, sealing out even bikers and hikers — local residents were seething.

The picturesque swath of desert east of Los Angeles had been overrun by visitors the weekend of March 21 – two days after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  The line of cars came anyway, bumper to bumper, even though the National Park Service had closed the park’s roads and campgrounds that weekend. The government extended the closure this week to bicyclists and pedestrians.

“It was crazy how many people were in town that weekend,” said Robin Hercia, a graphic artist who lives in the unincorporated community of Joshua Tree. “People thought somehow that coming to Joshua Tree, out into nature, was exempt from the don’t-go-out category.

“It’s just this defiant, selfish behavior,” she said.

The tension is playing out across the nation, as housebound Americans seek refuge in the great outdoors — for exercise, for tranquility, for a place to de-stress…(more)

Not such a big problem if you have a private backyard or open space of your own to use, or you live out of the city. The people who are most likely to disobey the “stay at home” order are the ones living in cramped crowded conditions that do not have private yards and open space. These people rely on public parks and open space because they don’t have any private areas. Private open space is exactly what the so-called NIBMYs have been trying to protect. It did not take a crisis for everyone to understand the importance of private space.

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