State Parks are Open! Here’s How to Safely Visit

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Oregonians can return to some of their favorite outdoor activities. Biking, boating, beachcombing, hiking, picnicking and other daytime activities are now open in many state parks.

OREGON – Already, a hundred parks, waysides and beach accesses have opened since May 6, when Gov. Kate Brown announced a limited opening for recreation areas. If all goes well, and visitors respect physical distancing asks, more parks will be able to open. 

A new Park Status Map at oregonstateparks.org helps visitors quickly identify what parks are open and what services and facilities may be limited. Decisions about when and where to open are guided by the governor’s reopening framework, which prioritizes public health and local communities’ readiness to welcome visitors. Details about this decision are on this FAQ page.

For now, camping remains closed, as do parks on the north coast. And, daytime use looks very different. Visitors will notice signs posted with physical distancing reminders, and some restrooms are closed or have limited hours. Some hikes will only be open in one direction to keep people from passing one another on narrow trails. This is all part of our effort to keep visitors and staff safe and continue flattening Oregon’s curve.

Oregon State Parks is asking for visitors’ help: please Prepare + Care. Prepare before your trip, then care while in a park.

Prepare

Stay home if you feel sick
If you’re not feeling well, the best way to get better (and to protect the health of others) is to stay home and rest up. The parks will still be here for you when you feel better.

Check what state parks are open near you
Find out a state park’s open/closed status via this page. Park open/closed statuses may change quickly or without warning. If you’re unsure, call our park info line: 800-551-6949. If you show up at a park and it’s closed unexpectedly, please respect the closure and head out.

Choose a park close to home
Staying local means you won’t impact another community’s resources, like groceries or medical capacity. Plus, you don’t want to spend a few hours driving to a park only to discover it’s closed when you get there.

Have a backup plan
If more than one park is open near you, make a “Plan B” in case your first-choice park is closed or too crowded when you arrive. Or make a plan that doesn’t involve visiting a state park: think where else could you take a walk/hike, ride your bike, have a picnic, etc.

Know what to expect about park services
It will not be “business as usual” at state parks. Facilities will be closed, park hours may be reduced, and your behavior while in parks will need to be modified (more on that in the next section). These measures will help keep you and our staff safe. Do your research before you depart.

Pack what you need at home
Make sure you bring the essentials—water, snacks, face coverings, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, etc.—so you don’t have to stop on the way. And make sure you pack out everything you bring in.

Keep your group sizes small
Invite your immediate family members only, and keep group sizes to fewer than 10 people. This helps keep congestion down in high-traffic areas like restrooms, parking lots and trailheads. 

Care

If the parking lot looks very crowded, consider heading elsewhere
If you show up to a park and the parking lot is slammed with cars and people, consider falling back on your Plan B park or activity. If you decide to stay, please don’t get creative with parking; only use designated parking areas. Parking on road shoulders is dangerous, and any vehicles parked illegally can be towed.

Choose safe or low-key activities
Take it easy during your visit; now is not the time to try a brand-new activity or long, difficult hike. We have fewer rangers than we usually do, so if you become hurt or lost, that will strain our already limited resources. And may also strain the limited resources of our rural community neighbors.

Maintain physical distance from others
Follow OHA guidelines and stay at least 6 feet away from other visitors who aren’t your family. This means taking turns using restrooms, stepping off trails to let others pass (if safe to do so), and not lingering at congested areas like parking lots or trailheads.

Wear your face covering around others
The same face covering guidelines for stores apply to the outdoors too: cover your face with a cloth or a mask when in high traffic areas like parking lots, restrooms, trailheads, etc. If you need to cough or sneeze, aim for the crook of your elbow.

Know which facilities are open for visitor use
Check for posted signs on facilities; if it says “closed,” it means closed. Our service abilities are limited due to staffing, so not all of the usual facilities (like bathrooms) will be open.  Some popular facilities, like playgrounds or picnic shelters, may be closed outright.

Remember that all normal park rules still apply
Please follow all other established park rules. Read our Statewide FAQ for a refresher. 

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