The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission this week discussed the touchy subject of what to do about Morses Pond in light of concerns over COVID-19. As we reported recently, Morses Pond is becoming a hot spot with social distancing implications and would only become more so if the weather ever improves.
NRC Director Brandon Schmitt said department heads met this week to discuss the topic, which has generated lots of emails from the public. Reports have come in about people not social distancing at the beach, which includes a pavilion that would need to be sanitized for people to use it safely.
One possible scenario is that beach access will be temporarily shut off, but that the gate at Turner Road will be opened. This would allow people to park in the parking lot and have easier access to the hiking trails around the pond. It would also give residents on Turner Road a break and would make it easier for the cops to monitor the beach area.
While this could be the best approach, Schmitt acknowledges “No one wants to do this.”
NRC Chair Katie Griffith pointed out that Morses Pond is different than other open spaces in town in that it has a central destination area: “I think it really does pose a safety concern in terms of congregating. It’s such a tough position to be in because you want to do what’s right for the health of our community.”
It’s possible that the parking lot itself could become a social distancing concern, though the thinking is that if the beach is closed, not too many people will head to the lot.
It’s too early to say whether the beach will open at all this summer, but the safety the the public and employees will be the chief considerations in any such decision. Schmitt described the possible opening as “very uncertain.”
The beach usually opens in early June.
Time tracker: We watched the NRC Meeting this week so you didn’t have to. We spent at least 90 minutes watching it and another 90 minutes summarizing highlights in this post and this post about Lee Field. If you find this independent news service valuable, please consider contributing to The Swellesley Report. Thanks!