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Current campers have two weeks to leave. State says layout of campgrounds makes social distancing impossible.

Sunset Bay State Park ORThe State of Oregon is closing all its public campgrounds. People currently camping will have until April 2 to leave. Reservations bookedd for campgrounds between April 2 and May 8 will be cancelled and fees refunded.

The decision was announced by the three Oregon state agencies which will suspend camping for at least six weeks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19: the Oregon Parks and Recreation, The Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

According to a press release issued jointly by the three agencies, "The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will accommodate current overnight guests through April 2. Reservations for all state park stays from April 3 to and including May 8 will be canceled and site fees refunded. Before May 8, the department will review the state park campground closure to decide whether it should be extended. The decision affects all individual and group overnight facilities: campsites, yurts, cabins, tepees, and services operated by concessionaires. The suspended service also affects reservations for group day-use areas.

The Oregon Department of Forestry maintains campgrounds in the Clatsop, Santiam, and Tillamook State Forests. Most campgrounds are currently closed for the season, and will not reopen for individual or group use. Year-round campgrounds will close starting on Monday, March 23. All day-use and campground restrooms are temporarily closed due to limited janitorial services. A reopening date for all restrooms and state forest campgrounds has not yet been determined. During this time, trails, forest roads and trailheads on state forestlands will remain open to the public.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is closing its Wildlife Areas to overnight camping effective Sunday, March 22. The closure affects both dispersed camping and established campgrounds. Several wildlife areas are also currently fully or partially closed to all visitors as part of annual seasonal closures to protect wintering wildlife. While camping will be prohibited, wildlife areas that are currently open remain open to visitors for day-use activities including wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation.

The same press release offered this rationale for the closings, "State park, forest, and wildlife area camping areas are built into relatively small areas by design. Maintaining social distance is difficult. Working with fewer staff and volunteers is becoming a reality, making it difficult to maintain proper cleaning procedures. To support the state goal of reducing transmission of COVID-19, temporary campground closures are necessary. The details of these actions—such as dates and affected programs—are under constant review and will change as new information develops."

For more information you can check these websites: Travel Oregon travel alerts: traveloregon.com/travel-alerts/.

State park service reductions and closures: bit.ly/OPRD-covid.

Oregon Department of Forestry: www.oregon.gov/ODF/

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: myodfw.com/visit-odfw-wildlife-areas


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