At the direction of Governor Kate Brown, and in keeping with the guidance that all Oregonians should stay home and stay healthy, the Oregon State Park system has closed all camping areas as of Monday, March 23rd, 2020, until further notice.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) previously ordered a campground closure that would have started April 3, and advised travelers to avoid day trips to full parks.
With new guidance from the Governor and clear signs that travelers are not following advice to avoid full parks, a statewide state park closure is necessary. Beaches can be closed by OPRD at their discretion and will be closed if social distancing practices are not followed.
All daytime park services will be closed statewide, including parking areas and restrooms. Campers will be refunded for all canceled nights. All travelers are advised to follow the guidance to stay home to stay healthy. City and county parks and other public land managers are open at their discretion, with the recommendation they do so only if they can adhere to social distancing practices.
“We would have preferred an orderly shutdown of the system and to remain open for daytime visits, but our concern for the effects on rural health care systems requires us to move up and expand our plans,” says Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “We know this will cause a disruption since we’re suspending service to everyone, even people who live near a park. Reducing contact between people is more important than recreation at the moment.”
Know before you go:
- Travel Oregon travel alerts https://traveloregon.com/travel-alerts/.
- State park service reductions and closures: https://bit.ly/OPRD-covid.
- Oregon Department of Forestry:https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: https://myodfw.com/visit-odfw-wildlife-areas
Message from Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept Director Lisa Sumption
An essential part of operating a park relates to the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors like you. The COVID-19 situation is very fluid and in order to follow Governor Kate Brown’s order to maintain social distance, we have made the difficult decision to close the entire state park system by March 23. The last night any camper can stay is March 22.
This closure will last at least until May 8. We’ll decide before then whether it’s time to re-open parks.
What? Why! Isn’t this an overreaction?
The hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. We’d hoped people would protect themselves and, more importantly, others by limiting their travel just too short trips to places with space. That didn’t happen, and we understand why … people need to get out, and they need a little nature time to make this whole thing bearable.
But you’re more important to us than our mission. Our local neighbors near each park — many of them small and rural — need our support and understanding, but they and their health care systems (and grocery stores) don’t need a few thousand extra people on their doorstep.
So now what do I do? Sit around for a couple of months?
Go out if it’s important. Take a walk around your neighborhood if that’s what you need, where it’s easier to avoid clumping up. We don’t recommend you travel to any popular recreation hotspot. You might think, “Well, if everyone else stays home, that means I can go.” … no, that’s not what that means.
All canceled reservations will be refunded. If your stay hadn’t even started yet, we’ll also refund the normally nonrefundable $8 reservation fee.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
Avoid touching your face.
If you’re sick with any ailment, stay home. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
When in public, maintain a social distance of at least six feet.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow.
Clean surfaces you touch regularly.
- Follow the guidelines.