The latest craze, Pokemon Go, has come to Metro Parks in a big way. We are very happy to see so many people are coming out to capture these virtual critters “living” in the parks. We are embracing the new game and will be providing programming centered around or featuring the game (keep an eye on the Metro Parks Facebook and Twitter feed for more information on programs). However, we do need your help to keep the parks running smoothly!
From a Ranger’s perspective, most aspects of the game do not create any issues. However, we are always concerned with your safety. By now, we have all heard the story in the news of criminals who left virtual “lures” to attract Pokemon. The concentration of Pokemon then attracted players, which were the real target of the criminals who laid in wait to ambush and rob the players they attracted. We have not had anything like this happen in Metro Parks, although we have had reports of people walking into signs and other features, as they pay a little too much attention to their phones. It does, however, serve as a reminder to always be aware of your surroundings. Also, it may be more fun (and safe) to collect “pocket monsters” with a friend.
Rangers at all parks are seeing Pokemon Go activity. Rangers and staff at Blendon Woods decided to create an educational sign to help players adhere to Metro Parks Rules and Regulations while they play the game:
- Please park in designated parking spots only. This does not include side of the road or on the turf. Part of what we love about this game is it gets people out walking; a few more steps won’t hurt!
- Our trails are for pedestrians and sometimes bicyclists, please do not drive (or park) your vehicle on the trails.
- Please be respectful of other users in the park. For example, please do not block paths or interrupt groups using the shelters.
- While a good majority of the parks are available to off trail use, some areas are designated as preserves and do not allow off trail access. Please consult a map of the park, or contact the Ranger on duty if you have any questions. If you are not sure, then a good rule of thumbs is to just stay on trails, roadways or turf.
- Our parks close either at dark (one half hour past sunset) or at 10 p.m. (8 p.m. October through February). The hours of operation are posted at the entrance to parks. Please plan accordingly and leave yourself enough time to be out of the park by closing time.
- Vehicles are not to be left in the park over night. If you meet friends at the park, but leave together to go search another area, all vehicles must be removed before the park closes.
- We think it goes without saying, please do not play the game while you are driving.
If you have any questions while you are at the parks, feel free to stop a Ranger; we are here to help. Heck, some of us are even playing the game too (off duty of course). We hope while you are searching the parks, or when you have captured all there is to capture, you take some time away from augmented reality and enjoy some natural reality. Happy hunting! Catch ’em all!