BRIDGMAN — Spring has sprung just in time for those getting coronavirus cabin fever.

Outdoor spaces like Warren Dunes State Park, dog parks, city sidewalks and public beaches have provided an outlet for those looking to stretch their legs and spend some time out of the house while the state’s shelter-in-place order is in effect.

On the pleasant afternoon of March 25 there was definitely some fishing going on at Weko Beach in Bridgman.

Bill Neuendorf was casting lines into Lake Michigan in hopes that a Coho Salmon might take a bite.

He said it was early in the Coho run, but the smaller fish that are usually caught early “are good eaters.”

“It’s a nice way to spend an evening or a morning,” Neuendorf added.

Father and son Pete and Grant Gelesko took a pair of fishing kayaks out from the Weko boat launch and brought one of the silvery salmon back to shore.

“We get a nice little run of Coho in the spring here,” Pete said, adding that they also were getting some video footage for the paddleandpole.com — a website that focuses on kayak fishing.

That same day saw people scattered over the sandy slopes and beaches of Warren Dunes State Park, dog walking all over the area, and a flotilla of fishing boats taking to the big lake off New Buffalo’s public beach.

On May 26 Bernadette Lynch was getting plots ready for planting at the Bridgman Community Garden near the public library.

Lynch has three plots in the fenced-in garden area and also serves as coordinator, working with the library and gardeners.

She is looking forward to growing her usual lineup of poblano peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, peas and beans.

“This year I’m going to put in some corn and see how that does,” she added.

Lynch said the deadline for securing plots in the garden will probably be extended this year due to the coronavirus situation.

As the COVID-19 situation escalates, some Illinois residents are finding comfort in their Harbor Country second homes.

Kelly Rogala is a grateful New Buffalo homeowner who lives in Oak Park, Illinois — one of the first villages in the nation to be put into lockdown.

“We are vegetarians and the shelves were completely empty of canned foods,” she says. “My family is very resourceful, but it was still scary.”

Rogala says she was relieved to learn that Barney’s and surrounding grocery stores in Michigan have plenty of inventory. In addition to two teenage boys, she also has a husband who recovered from cancer last year.

“For people who have family members with compromised immune systems, this pandemic is especially hard. We are so happy to be part of the New Buffalo community. “

In addition to less people and fresh air, Rogala adds that some of her family’s fondest memories have been made here. While the coming weeks and months will be a test for everyone, she is grateful to be back in Michigan.

—Mia Toschi contributed to this report

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