Published 05/05/2020 at 6:23 PM PDT
By OREGON TRAVEL DAILY STAFF
(Portland, Oregon) – A very small handful of Oregon state parks are opening up around the state on Wednesday, but none of them on the Oregon coast or in the Gorge area – and many favorites like Silver Falls State Park won’t be among them. All ski resorts will soon be allowed to open, however.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) made the announcement Tuesday, saying these inland state parks will offer limited services starting Wednesday, May 6.
Limited daytime service will begin at:
Tryon Creek in Portland
Willamette Mission north of Keizer
Mongold boat ramp at Detroit Lake
State Capitol State Park in Salem
The Cove Palisades boat ramp at Lake Billy Chinook near Culver
Prineville Reservoir boat ramp near Prineville
Joseph Stewart boat ramp on Lost Creek Lake near Shady Cove
Pilot Butte to pedestrians (no vehicles) in Bend
OPRD said this will be limited day use for now, and other state parks could start reopening on a similar basis starting May 11, based on the readiness of surrounding communities and how prepared each park is in terms of staff, supplies and equipment. State parks will open and close with little advance notice; updates will be posted online at oregonstateparks.org or call 800-551-6949 (Mon-Fri, 8a-5p) and should be checked before visiting.
Prepare for a new world, however.
Parking will be limited in each park to help prevent overcrowded conditions, and not all restrooms will be open. OPRD said it expects camping will return once it can be safely managed. Currently, preparations are under way at state parks that offer camping but no date has been selected.
Visitors should expect a different state park experience than they are used to, and will need to prepare by:
Staying home if you’re sick.
If visiting, staying local and close to home, meaning less than 50 miles in urban areas.
Only visiting with members of their household.
Bringing all supplies - food, water, hand cleanser - needed for a short trip.
If a park appears crowded, leave and come back at another time.
If there is space at the park, patrons need to visit with care. OPRD said the public must take the following precautions:
Wear a face covering. Homemade is fine.
Stay at least six feet away from people who aren’t from your household. More is better.
Cover your cough with a tissue (then throw it away), or the inside of your elbow.
Leave no trace: pack out everything you bring with you.
Stick to low-risk activities to reduce stress on local emergency response and health care systems.
Keep your visit short. Restrooms and other buildings may be closed.
You will also want to watch for signs at the park for more information.
“We know these last six weeks has seemed longer, but your health is important to us,” said Lisa Sumption, OPRD Director. “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.”
“We need your cooperation to keep parks open,” she adds.
High-density parks on the north coast, the Columbia Gorge, boat accesses to the John Day and Deschutes Rivers, and places like Smith Rock in Central Oregon will likely be among the last to return to limited service, and no dates for state parks in those regions have been announced.
Below: Tryon State Natural Area, Portland
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