Although the office doors are open once more, it is not back to business as usual for Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
TVRPD took a heavy hit as a result of the state's new COVID-19 guidelines. According to district manager Corey Torres, MPA, most of the programs have been canceled for the remainder of the year to ensure the safety of staff and the community at large.
Brite Lake, however, has reopened to the public for day use and overnight camping.
Owned by the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District and operated by TVRPD, the Brite Lake Aquatic Recreation Area is known for its beautiful natural scenery and year-round recreation including camping, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.
"We are up and running out there, and have started taking reservations as of June 12," Torres said, adding that day use has been allowed for the past three weeks.
Campers are asked to limit their parties to 10 people or fewer.
"We live in Stallion Springs, but I go to Brite Lake a couple of times a week either by myself or with my family to go kayaking. It is so peaceful and quite. My best advice is to give it a try first. It is only $5 a boat, which is really affordable. But if you enjoy it, they offer a season pass," said Stacey Herrera.
So how's the fishing?
Said Torres, "We have had two stockings in the last six weeks."
Located at 22902 Banducci Road, reservations to the park will be accepted on a first-come, first served basis by calling the camp host at 221-2832.
On June 17, TVRPD announced that Dye Natatorium Pool will stay closed throughout the remainder of the year.
"We have been watching closely the guidelines of the state, and operationally, financially and keeping in consideration the quality of the programs that we offer, with these limitations, we feel it is not feasible to open this year," Torres said. "Hopefully, next year we will have a more successful season."
Since the pool will remain closed, no aquatic programs will be offered this year.
Said Torres, "Tehachapi is filled with countless avid and passionate aquatic users. But as one of this community’s provider for health and wellness, we have a responsibility to keep our youth, families and adults healthy and safe, as well as provide a certain level of quality services."
According to Torres, only one youth program will be offered this summer, TVRPD's largest, the Summer Youth Adventure Day Camp for ages 5 through 12.
The camp starts June 22 and will continue through Aug. 7, Monday through Friday.
"There won't be any field trips. Some of the changes and adaptations due to COVID will be our limiting group sizes based on ratios of campers to group counselor to 10 to 1," Torres said.
In addition, Torres said social interaction will be limited and mandatory hand washing will be repeated throughout the day. There will be no sharing of pens while signing in and out and all staff will wear face shields. Masks for campers are suggested; however, they are not required. Campers' temperatures will also be checked at the door each day.
In past years during the city's 4th of July festivities, TVRPD hosts its All American 5k run. This year, a virtual run will be offered instead. Participants are invited to run a 5k route of their own making or chose one suggested by TVRPD.
Run on a day that works best for you any time from July 1 through 6.
Tag TVRPD on Instagram @Teh_REC_PARK or on Facebook with a picture of you and your medal for a chance to win free entry into the Mountain Gallop 5k event this August.
All other programs, including adult programs, have been canceled for the year.
Said Torres, "It is unfortunate with what's going on in our state and nation right now, but we have a responsibility to try and adapt and provide as many programs and services that promote health and wellness as best as we can. We are trying to think outside the box and trying our best to do whatever we can to align ourselves with the county and state and do what's required of us."
Located at 490 W. D St., TVRPD can be reached by calling 822-3228. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.