COVID-19

News // March 17, 2020

Updated Tuesday, 3/24:

The public health crisis created by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and impact our everyday lives, but Friends of the Wissahickon’s conservation mission in the Wissahickon Valley Park is unwavering. We are here to provide information for you about the Park as it becomes available.

Wissahickon Valley Park remains open and a resource for everyone. We ask individuals to follow the social distancing guidelines of the City of Philadelphia’s Stay At Home Order, linked here.

The quarterly FOW newsletter will be mailed to current FOW members and is available online here. We would like to acknowledge that much of the content regarding our previously scheduled events and projects for the Spring is out of date. Following guidance from city and state authorities, we have postponed our upcoming in-park projects and public events, upcoming trail work, volunteer service days, and guided hikes until the lifting of the order.  

Some park services and amenities will be variable or closed during this time. We will update this list periodically as more information becomes available, and encourage our visitors to consult Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s updates here.

  • All public park restrooms and city facilities will be closed as of Friday, 3/20 until further notice.
  • The Valley Green Inn will be takeout only as of Monday, 3/16.  The Cedars House Cafe is closed until further notice.  Please visit each business’ website for updated information.
  •  We do not recommend parking in the gated lots at the upper parking lot above the Wissahickon Environmental Center, Pachella Field, Blue Bell Hill, and David P. Montgomery Field (formerly Daisy).
  • The Wissahickon Environmental Center is closed until further notice.
  • All of FOW’s planned programming in the park is cancelled through April.

While our ability to do work in the park is temporarily delayed, the Wissahickon Valley Park still needs your support. Please consider joining as a member or donating if you are able here. With your continued assistance, FOW will be able to keep stewarding and improving the Wissahickon Valley Park for its more than a million annual visitors.

We all look to the Wissahickon as a place of refuge in difficult times – and we also need your help to keep it that way.  When you visit the park, please remember your responsibility to practice social distancing.

  • If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please do not visit the park.
  • If you are an older adult or have serious chronic medical conditions, please consider staying home. Older adults and those with pre-existing chronic medical conditions appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus, according to the WHO.
  • Maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and other park visitors.
  • Bring a hand sanitizer with you that contains 60-95% alcohol.
  • Bring your own snacks and filled water bottle.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Use the crook of your arm (inner elbow) or use a tissue and dispose of it using Leave No Trace Principles.
  • Keep some distance between you and other hikers whenever possible, especially if anyone shows signs of being sick. Avoid shaking hands or other close contact — instead, elbow bumps or waving are safer ways to greet others.
  • Gathering in groups is not permitted.
  • If you begin feeling sick, stay away from others and leave the park immediately.

And if you’re looking for FOW-approved things to do at home or in the Wissahickon, we have lots of suggestions!

  • Take backyard birding to the next level by tracking your observations with the E-bird app. It’s easy to use and records your sightings and locations, while allowing you to see what other birders are seeing in the area.  Share your findings with the hashtags #ebird, #myebirdhistory, and #Wissahickon!
  • Likewise, the iNaturalist app lets you keep track of local wildlife species. Philadelphia is part of the global iNaturalist City Nature Challenge in April 2020, so your observations will put Philly on the map.
  • The 2020 Wissahickon Photo Contest starts April 6th. Show us a new side of the place we love! More information is at fow.org/photocontest2020/.

The Wissahickon Valley Park is an important resource that will always need our support. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @FOWissahickon, and sign up for our weekly e-newsletter for important park news as well as interesting park information to keep you connected to the Wissahickon – while in the safety of your home.