Wide-open spaces and public health

July 31, 2020

One thing we have learned for certain about the coronavirus is that it spreads most aggressively in indoor spaces where people tend to be in closer contact with others. Experts tell us to be outside as much as we can. That’s good news for Sussex County.

Delaware, Sussex and local communities have invested heavily in trails, forming partnerships to preserve open spaces where people can be outside with nature, keeping our impressive system of beaches clean and replenished for quality swimming, walking and soaking up vitamin D, and promoting the outdoor active life on land and sea.

Now coronavirus is telling us that being active and outdoors is more than just fun – it’s essential for our health and well-being. And not just because of coronavirus. There will be plenty more viral and other bacterial challenges ahead. The healthier and more active we are, the better able we will be to resist such diseases.

Community planners often talk about how important it is that populations have public outdoor spaces where they can have fun and enjoy nature. All people, planners say, should be within a 10-minute walk of such public spaces. That’s an infrastructure goal we can strive for throughout Sussex.

Delaware’s leaders have remained committed through the last couple of decades to making millions of dollars available each year for farmland and open-space preservation. This is in no way frivolous. Such investment is a critical component in the overall public health of our state. Because of Gov. John Carney’s wise and determined commitment to a budget-smoothing process that over the past few strong economic years set money aside to help us through the tougher times – like right now – there was still money available in the budget passed recently for continued open space and farmland preservation.

In doing so, he and the General Assembly maintained a long-standing Delaware tradition of preserving important natural resources for the benefit of our overall community health, our quality of life, our critical tourism industry and our economic well-being, for decades ahead.     

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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