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How coronavirus concerns impact hikers in Phoenix

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Posted at 3:42 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 01:41:49-04

PHOENIX — People around the Valley are opting to go outside for a change of scenery from self-quarantine.

"You can only walk your dog and go on bike rides so many times," said avid hiker Charles Crawford.

He's taking every precaution possible to keep his habit healthy by sanitizing while climbing. "I get all the way to the top then I put gloves on and come down kind of fast," said Crawford.

Other hikers agree the extra effort is worth a change of scenery."You start to lose your mind just being inside and you want to get out. Nature's not on quarantine," said hiker Gavin Naumoff.

"This is very helpful for your mind and to stay positive. It uplifts your mood," added fellow hiker Tinh Nguyen.

Beyond hikers' efforts to social distance, Echo Canyon is seeing less foot traffic than usual due to regulations from the City of Phoenix.

RELATED: Cities are now restricting access to parks because of COVID-19

Park Ranger Sheryll Barnes said, "Saturday and Sunday are usually packed and I guess the word got out. It's been not as busy as it normally would be."

The park is turning hikers away when the parking lot reaches half capacity. They're also encouraging drivers to park in every other parking spot.

Similar regulations are in place at Piestewa Peak. Rangers control incoming traffic at the park to ten cars at a time about every 15 minutes.

Hopeful hiker Phillip Burton just missed the cut off but he says, "Hours of delays are totally fine. We enjoy a really good life here in the United States. This is the least we can do to pay it back."

According to Ranger Barnes, this kind of regulation at parks will continue as needed with no end date set yet.