Some Oregon State Parks to reopen with limited access
With summer weather heading our way, Oregonians are anxious to get back outdoors and explore their parks.
And while state parks were ordered to close following Gov. Kate Brown's executive order, a handful of inland state parks will partially reopen with limited services starting Wednesday, May 6.
Eight parks — Tryon Creek, Willamette Mission, State Capitol State Park, Pilot Butte, The Cove Palisades, Prineville Reservoir, Mongold and Joseph Stewart boat ramp — will return to limited daytime service.
"Limited day-use will slowly return to other state parks starting the week of May 11 based on the readiness of the community around the park to welcome visitors, and how prepared the park is with staff, supplies, and equipment," read the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's press release. "Not all restrooms will be open, and parking will be limited. State park camping will return as soon as it can be safely managed, and while preparations are being made, no opening date has been selected."
The parks will not return to normalcy soon, and they will open and close with little advance notice, depending on the state's ability to follow proper physical distancing and safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic. If the park is crowded, people are expected to leave and return when there are less people.
The state's parks department tells people to stay home if sick, and if visiting a state park, bring food, water, hand sanitizer, wear facemasks and stay local — less than 50 miles of travel in urban areas — and only explore state parks with members of their household.
"We know these last six weeks has seemed longer, but your health is important to us," said Lisa Sumption, OPRD director, in the press release. "It is true outdoor recreation boosts our mental and physical health, but parks concentrate people in a community, and we have to do this carefully if it's going to work."
Highly trafficked parks including the Columbia Gorge will likely be the last to return to limited services and no date has been set yet.
Updates will be posted online at oregonstateparks.org. For questions or more information, call 800-551-6949 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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