Cameron Park gains new meaning amid pandemic restrictions

Hikers enjoy the view from Lovers Leap in Cameron Park. Emileé Edwards | Photographer

By Julia Pearl | Reporter

Baylor students, Waco locals and tourists all share Cameron Park, but with restrictions placed on many public spaces, the park and what it represents to its visitors is changing.

Cameron Park is one of the few public spaces left where people are not required to wear masks as long as they maintain social distance. Oxford, Miss., junior Cole Grafton said that Cameron Park provides a place for him to escape from the mandates that restrict other public spaces.

“It’s more distant,” Grafton said about the 400 acres of land where the park rests.

Cameron Park allows for its visitors to easily maintain social distance, unlike other public spaces, meaning that they can remove their masks while being active. Grafton, who comes to Cameron Park to practice for disc golf, said that the intramural brought him to the park and appealed to him as a way to get involved socially during the pandemic.

“I really just started coming a few weeks ago,” said Grafton. “Since then, every day or two.”

Cameron Park boasts a number of activities for Waco’s residents to try out. According to their website, the 23-hole disc golf course is one of the more popular attractions. Grafton said that he intends to keep coming to the park even as the weather changes.

“I’ll still come here,” Grafton said. “I’ll play unless it gets into the 20s.”

Ryan Adams, a long-time visitor of the park, said that when the pandemic first began, fewer people came to Cameron Park, but now the number of visitors is once again climbing.

“When [the pandemic] first started there was hardly anybody here,” Adams said. “It’s picked up definitely since March and April. It’s probably back to about the same as it was before.”

For people like Grafton the park is a new discovery, but for visitors like Adams and his exercise group, the park has been a constant among the changes the pandemic has brought.

“For us, we’ve been coming out here to workout for several years,” Adams said. “This has always been our home base, and it’s not really changed for me.”