Eight Oregon state parks will remain closed through the summer due to budget cuts from the COVID-19 crisis while “nearly every other park is experiencing reduced levels of service.”
Oregon Parks and Recreation on Friday said more parks could still be added to the closed list.
The closed parks are:
- Alfred A. Loeb State Park campground and day-use.
- Battle Mountain Forest State Scenic Corridor day-use (no campground).
- Cape Blanco State Park campground and day-use (closed through 2020).
- Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park campground.
- Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area campground.
- Saddle Mountain State Natural Area campground and trails.
- Ukiah-Dale Forest State Scenic Corridor campground and day-use.
- Umpqua Lighthouse State Park campground.
Check the state park status map for the latest information.
The agency sent out a release asking visitors to do their part to protect themselves and others while visiting state parks this summer. But it also said it was trying to work around massive budget cuts.
“We’re facing months, even years, of critical challenges due to the economic fallout from COVID-19,” the agency said in a release earlier this month. “The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department faces a decline in our main revenue sources – Lottery Fund and park visitors – that requires us to reduce services and lay off staff to fill an estimated $22 million gap in our July 2019-June 2021 budget.”
Even at the parks that are open, Parks and Recreation said service levels will be much different than in years past including fewer open restrooms, closed showers in many campgrounds, and no walk-in campers at coastal parks.
“We have far fewer staff than we normally do for the busy summer season. Park rangers will be focused on essential duties to keep you safe, so other typical services may fall by the wayside,” the agency said. “Events and programs will be canceled, ice or firewood sales may be suspended, and grounds maintenance and trash pickup will be less frequent. Service availability may change quickly.”
Parks and Recreation urged visitors to visit the webpage for the park you plan to visit before you leave to learn what’s open and what’s closed. When you arrive at the park, scope out the open facilities.
The best thing way to keep yourself and others safe is to “Prepare + Care.” Prepare before you leave the house, then take care of yourself and the people around you while at the park.
- If you’re not feeling well, stay home. The parks will still be here when you recover.
- Whether you’re stopping for the afternoon or camping overnight, bring the essentials with you: face coverings, hand sanitizer, trash bags (pack it in, pack it out), water, snacks, and toilet paper.
- Choose a park close to home. The shorter your trip, the fewer stops you have to make on the way there, and the less time you’ll be in close proximity with others.
- Check the park’s webpage in advance to learn what amenities are available. Some may be closed; read the “reduced services” section below.
- Make a backup plan for your outing. Summer is a busy time at state parks, and people are extra stir-crazy this year. If you show up and the park or parking areas look crowded, turn around and follow your backup plan.
- Parking may be limited, and please don’t park on road shoulders or private roads. It’s dangerous and you risk your vehicle being damaged or towed. If the parking lot is full, turn around.
- Try to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from folks that aren’t part of your household. Please wear a face covering, especially when in congested areas like parking lots, trailheads or restrooms.
- Take it easy while at the park: stick to trails and activities you’re familiar with. If you get in over your head and get injured or lost, that will further strain our already thin resources.
- Take your trash with you when you leave. Garbage service has been significantly reduced and packing out what you pack in is a huge help to park rangers.
- With the weather heating up, campfire restrictions may be in effect in some state parks. Check campground and trailhead notice boards for posted fire restrictions, or call ahead to double check. Fireworks are never allowed in state parks or on the ocean shore.
Don’t forget: normal park rules still apply. Visit the state parks recreation FAQ for a refresher.
Learn more about safe recreation in parks during the pandemic, including more specifics for day-use and camping, on the state parks website: stateparks.oregon.gov.