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June 05th, 2020

trout derby virtualBrianna Galvez took home the top prize in the youth category in round one of Meade State Park’s Virtual Trout Derby. Courtesy photoL&T staff report


Due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus, spring events at Meade Lake State Park have been canceled or postponed.

Staff at the park, though, doesn’t want that to stop people from getting out and enjoying the park. To encourage visitation, the park is hosting a virtual trout derby.

“We were concerned with families coming in close contact with one another during some of our special events and possibly spreading illness,” Park Ranger Alex Goossen said. “The virtual trout derby eliminates the need for that.”

Participation in the derby is easy, open to all ages and completely free. 

“Snap a picture of the trout you catch out of Meade State Fishing Lake and upload to Facebook,” a press release from Meade State Park said. “An angler will be selected from the uploaded photos via random drawing to win a fishing-related prize.”

Two specially tagged trout were stocked in the lake in preparation for the park’s original trout derby, which was scheduled for March 21. Catching one of these trout and uploading the photo will win the lucky angler a gift basket full of trout fishing gear.

Drawings will be weekly from now until April 15. Pics can also be sent via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All fish must be caught out of Meade State Fishing Lake.

The first round of the contest ended Monday, and the winners were in the adult division, Brandon McBride, and in the youth division, Brianna Galvez.

“Thank you to everyone who participated in the first round of the Virtual Trout Derby,” the post announcing the winners said.

Round two has begun and will end at 8 a.m. next Monday. Following rounds will begin as soon as a winner is announced and will end at 8 a.m. the next Monday.

“Make sure you tag your location in your post or have something in the picture to prove that you were at Meade State Park when you caught your fish,” a post on the park’s Facebook page said. 

This leaves three weeks and three opportunities to win prizes.

“You may only enter the contest once per week unless you catch one of the tagged trout,” the Facebook page said. “Anyone age 16 and above must possess a valid Kansas state fishing license and trout stamp.”

The goal of the event is to encourage people to come out to the park and have fun while still practicing social distancing.

“So long as social distancing is practiced, the National Parks and Recreation Association (NPRA) says that parks and open spaces are safe,” the release said. “Meade State Park staff have been working to ensure facilities remain as clean as possible so visitors can enjoy the park worry free.”

Additional rules and information can be found on the park’s Facebook page at

The National Parks and Recreation Association has released a joint statement on using parks and open spaces while maintaining social distancing.

The statement said concerns about coronavirus continue to grip the nation.

“As organizations that support the power of parks and open spaces as essential resources for health and wellness, we understand that people may have questions and concerns about visiting their local parks, trails or open spaces at this time,” the statement said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has flagged mental health as a top concern associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We recognize that social distancing may take a toll on our mental health, especially during high-stress and anxiety-producing global public health emergencies,” the statement said. “We also know that parks provide a connection to the outdoors and green space as well as opportunities for physical activity which studies demonstrate reduces stress and improves mental health.”

The NPRA said many parks, trails and open spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. 

“In all instances, we recommend people follow local, state and national ordinances and guidelines regarding the use of these spaces and recognize that these vary from community to community,” the statement said. 

In places where there are no restrictions on the use of local parks, trails and open spaces, the NPRA encourages all users to follow these recommendations:

• Refrain from using parks or trails if they are exhibiting symptoms.

• Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails.

• Prepare for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains.

• While on trails, warn other users of their presence and as they pass, and step aside to let others pass.

• Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings including outdoor picnicking, pick-up sports and other group hangouts, and maintain proper physical distance at all times.

• Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other individuals at all times. If this is not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart that space.

• Consult their local and state ordinances and guidelines for the most up to date recommendations on park and trail use.

“We encourage local jurisdictions to keep parks, trails and open spaces accessible as long as it is safe to do so,” the statement said. “Our local parks, trails and open spaces have always served as places where people can find respite and seek peace and restoration. During this time of uncertainty, these places are needed now more than ever. Our nation’s park and recreation professionals are working hard to maintain these spaces and keep them safe, accessible and benefiting our communities during these challenging times. Let us all do our part to use them in a way that respects each other and public health guidance.”

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