Three Austin parks seeing 'extremely high use' will require day passes starting May 14

Austin will limit visitors at three city parks by requiring day passes. (Courtesy Brent Hall//
Austin will limit visitors at three city parks by requiring day passes. (Courtesy Brent Hall//

Austin will limit visitors at three city parks by requiring day passes. (Courtesy Brent Hall//

Beginning May 14, the city of Austin will limit visitors at three parks during peak times by requiring visitors to receive a day pass ahead of time.

Visitors to Emma Long Metropolitan Park and Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park on the western side of the city and Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in East Austin will have to register online or by phone ahead of their trip.

Registration will only be required Thursdays through Sundays. There are no additional fees—vehicle access to Commons Ford is free, and regular fees apply for Emma Long and Walter E. Long. A limited number of passes are available per day, which will allow the city to control the number of visitors.

According to a city spokesperson, the three parks were chosen because they saw "extremely high use" recently, and social distancing was a challenge in certain areas with concentrated activity, such as along the water.

City officials announced May 8 the extension of the stay-home order through the end of the month, with the exception of essential trips and visits to businesses Gov. Greg Abbott has authorized to reopen.

In addition to the registration requirements, Austin Parks and Recreation Department staff began monitoring capacity at the three parks beginning May 8. Once capacity is reached, staff will put up signs indicating that no additional vehicles will be admitted.

A link at the parks and recreation department website will be available soon for residents to register for a day pass, which will be available immediately as long as capacity has not been reached. Residents who do not have access to a computer will be able to call 512-974-6797 for assistance with the pass.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at


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