Wheeling city parks director says facility use is up

Wheeling city parks director says facility use is up
Daffodils blossom at a park in Wheeling in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. (Photo courtesy Bonnie Kittle)

The director of parks and recreation for the says recreational use has noticeably increased at the city's facilities and elsewhere, certainly as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.


Jesse Mestrovic, who manages more than 30 public spaces across the city and more than 13 miles of rail-trail, says that but for the outbreak, it's encouraging to see people enjoying themselves.

"I have noticed a lot of citizens out in the neighborhoods walking and utilizing our trails," Mestrovic said.

"Parks are a great place to practice social distancing and a great way to free your mind—especially right now."


Mestrovic said the department is encouraging people to stay active by walking, running, hiking, or biking on local trails.

"We encourage citizens to explore nature experiences in their neighborhoods and seek adventures at their local parks. We want people to take this opportunity to create meaningful relationships with the outdoors."

Winter's end is also an ideal time to take up a habit of outdoor recreation, he says.

"Spring is here, and wildflowers are beginning to sprout. A change of scenery with a different perspective can hopefully bring some much-needed relaxation and peace.


"Play in the dirt, and think outside the box, but also don’t forget to practice good nutrition as it is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle."

Recreational Options for Physical Distancing

Mestrovic recommends some of the following options for recreation in Wheeling and Ohio County that can be managed while maintaining an interpersonal space of six feet that's now being recommended to ward off the covid-19 virus.

  • Walking — admire the beautiful architecture of Wheeling while picking up litter in your neighborhood.
  • Running — choose a route-less-traveled or just hit the .
  • Bicycling — More than 13 miles of trail wander the Wheeling area, though cyclists are also encouraged to ride its historic neighborhoods. "And wear a helmet!" he reminds.
  • Kayak, Canoe, or Fish — at one of the Wheeling area reservoirs (Middle Wheeling Creek Lake, Bear Rocks Lake, Castleman Run Lake) or paddle Wheeling Creek or Buffalo Creek. "Each of these waterways has been stocked with trout three times thus far," he adds.
  • Hiking — Visit your favorite trails at Oglebay or check out lesser-known locations such a the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Refuge at the northern tip of Wheeling Island.
  • Urban Stairmaster — Embrace your inner "Rocky" on the city steps that climb Vineyard Hill.
  • Disc-Golfing — Pick up a new sport while going for a hike at the Wheeling Island Marina.
  • Reading — Find a comfortable place in nature. There are plenty across the city.
  • Birdwatching — Take a step back and watch and listen to the birds.

If you must stay at home, Mestrovic adds that readers try workouts that require minimal equipment, such as yoga, bodyweight exercises, and stretching or light calisthenics.

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