Building a Vibrant Community – Social Distancing

Social distancing is the new norm – keeping a safe physical distance from anyone else. Some areas provide a better opportunity to maintain a physical distance than others. Consider Washington, D.C. — there are 11,570 people per square mile.

As much as D.C. people try, it is impossible to get away from everyone else. There is no place to physically get away from other people. Baltimore is somewhat better at “only” 7,594 people per square mile. Still impossible to find a spot without other people.

And then there is Randolph County with 28 people per square mile. Yes, that number is correct — only 28 people per square mile. That number is about one third of the West Virginia average of only 77 people per square mile. So, if someone wants to physically distance from others, is it easier when the population is 11,570 people per square mile in D.C. or 28 people per square mile in Randolph County? Randolph County provides the perfect opportunity to keep a safe social/physical distance from others.

Physical distancing is available on the 40 mile bike trail from Elkins to Thomas. Parts are paved, parts are gravel. Except for the trail around Elkins, it is doubtful that anyone else will be around.

In the summertime, try one of the area swimming “pools.” The river at Stuart Park Recreational Area is great. There are several places to swim without being around other people. The cost? — $5 per carload. Of course, there are many other places in Randolph County to find isolated access to rivers streams. The cost? — free.

For those wanting to take a hike there is Bickle Knob, Spruce Knob, Gaudineer Scenic Area, Otter Creek, Kumbrabow State Forest, Monongahela National Forest and other areas. Miles and miles of hiking trails where it is unlikely anyone else will be seen.

Whether hiking, biking, swimming or just finding a quiet place, Randolph County provides a safe place to be physically apart from others. Physically distancing is the more appropriate term. It is hard to call it social distancing when there is no one to socialize with. You and the trees and the mountains along with newfound friends of birds, chipmunks and squirrels. (Don’t worry, they have been social distancing all their lives!)

Vibrant communities realize and promote all of their positive qualities. Often what “locals” take for granted, others see as a positive resource. In the current environment, having a population of only 28 people per square mile is a positive quality to be promoted.

Maintaining safe social/physical distancing? It’s easier in Randolph County, West Virginia!

This article follows the concepts outline in a book entitled “Building a Vibrant Community” written by Quint Studer. Compliments of Tygart Valley Orthopedics, the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber has free copies of the book available to those who are interested.


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