BEVERLY — Residents looking for safe outdoor activities during the coronavirus pandemic have increasingly turned to the city's network of trails.
Unfortunately, the higher usage has also led to a less desirable outcome — trash.
The Beverly Open Space and Recreation Committee said it is thrilled that more people are taking advantage of the trail system. At the same time, it has resulted in more trash and dog waste being left behind, people having fires, and parking conflicts, said committee member David Alden-St. Pierre.
"We love to see people out there," Alden-St. Pierre said. "But you shouldn't have to tell people, 'Don't leave trash.'"
Beverly has miles of open-space trails where the public can walk, run or bike. The trails are located at Sally Milligan Park, JC Phillips Preserve, Norwood Pond, Green's Hill, Beverly Commons and Bald Hill.
The city recently updated the maps and kiosks for the trails and added more signs around the city to direct people to trail access points and to help them find their way through the trail system. It also began promoting the trails more on Facebook and Instagram.
Those improvements boosted usage, Alden-St. Pierre said. And when the pandemic hit, "It really kind of exploded."
"Six months ago you'd go on the trails and see one or two people," he said. "Now there are days when you see tons of people on the trails. People were looking for a way to get outdoors. That's what the trails are for."
Alden-St. Pierre said there are no designated parking areas for the trails, so people need to be considerate when parking in neighborhoods. As for the trash, he said it would be helpful to remind people that any trash left behind is picked up by volunteers who keep the trails clean.
Alden-St. Pierre said he brings a bag with him when he bikes the trails in order to pick up trash, which has included beer bottles and Dunkin' cups.
"We would love a chance to get the word out about some of the great features here in Beverly while also asking for people's help with keeping them safe and clean for everyone's use," he said.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535 or email@example.com.