#RecreateResponsibly to Protect Yourself, Others, and the Outdoors
During this public health crisis, spending time in outdoor spaces has become even more important for many Americans. Yet these unusual circumstances mean that all of us, from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to families heading out to their local park for the first time, could use a little guidance about how to stay safe. The Recreate Responsibly guidelines offer a starting point for getting outside to keep yourself healthy and to maintain access to our parks, trails, and beaches.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives and caused a great deal of uncertainty, including how we get outdoors. We’ve all been looking for advice on how to get outside, and now we have answers from the Recreate Responsibly Coalition. Following these new guidelines will help avoid further outbreaks and keep our parks, trails, and beaches open to the public. As you get back out there, the #RecreateResponsibly guidelines will also help you be prepared in any situation you encounter, such as an unexpected trailhead closure or lack of available restroom facilities. Join in getting back out there, responsibly: https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/
Current Closures & Reopenings
Since Governor Inslee lifted the statewide stay-at-home order, Washington’s world-class network of trails and parks are slowly reopening. Each county is evolving at a different rate, so it’s important to be flexible, patient, and up-to-date on the latest conditions of your destination. Please keep in mind the guidelines for recreating responsibly and have alternatives in mind in case your destination is closed or unsafe due to overcrowding.
Please follow the links below to learn more about specific lands, parks, or trails.
National Parks and Monuments
For information about what’s open in Washington State’s beautiful National Parks and Monuments, please click HERE.
WA State Parks & WA Department of Fish & Wildlife (joint response)
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has updated the list of state parks that are open for day use, camping and overnight moorage as of July 6th. All parks opening for camping and overnight moorage are located in counties that have moved into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan and have approved camping in their counties. Day-use areas, campgrounds, and overnight moorage will open in all counties once they have moved into Phase 2 and camping has been approved. List of parks open for day use and for camping.
More specific details about hunting and fishing can be found at the WDFW link below.
Some parks may not open immediately due to impacts on rural communities and the potential for crowding. State Parks is working with local communities and its partners to determine the best approach and timing for reopening these areas.
Visitor centers on state-managed lands will remain closed until further notice.
State land managers recommend people come prepared and bring their own handwashing supplies, toilet paper, and personal protective equipment as some sites will have reduced or limited restroom facilities. People should also be prepared to change plans if their destination appears crowded or is not yet fully operational.
If sites become overcrowded or other COVID-19 related public safety concerns develop, state agencies may close areas with limited notice to further protect public health and safety. Click HERE to see what Washington State Parks are open.
WA Department of Natural Resources
The Department of Natural Resources has updated its list of open sites as of June 1st. Counties reopening for camping are all actively in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan and have also been approved for camping by county officials. The public should check state agency websites for the status of individual campgrounds and dispersed camping.
Most DNR-managed campsites will reopen on a rolling basis. Whether a campsite is open depends on the location of the site and whether any maintenance is needed. Most campsites on DNR land are on a first-come, first-serve basis and do not have running water. Visitors should make sure campsites are open before heading out and should have multiple backup options if the desired campsite is full. Campers should also be prepared to take care of all their personal hygiene needs. Always practice Leave No Trace principles as garbage services aren’t available. If you pack it in, pack it out.
Please check the dnr.wa.gov/open page for more details on what day-use areas and campsites are open.
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has begun a phased reopening of trailheads, day-use areas, and other developed recreation sites. Most trailheads and day-use facilities reopened on May 22nd. Some campgrounds remain closed during this first phase so forest staff and concessionaires can prepare them for operation. Additionally, some trailheads and day-use areas are still snow-covered or inaccessible due to winter storm damage and may remain closed until access can be restored. Restrooms will be closed; garbage service and water facilities will be unavailable. Visitors should plan to be as self-sufficient as possible, this includes bringing their own water, knowing how to properly dispose of human and dog waste, and packing out all garbage. (read more)
Check out this interactive map for specifics on what is opened and what remains closed.
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Most Trailheads and Day Use Sites are open. Boulder Cave Trail and Day Use site remain closed. Many Campgrounds are open across the forest. See CAMPGROUND STATUS page, updated 7/1/20.
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest officials urge people to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and avoid putting undue pressure on medical and law enforcement services, especially in the rural communities in Central Washington, so we can all return to our outdoor adventures as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
OR/WA Bureau of Land Management
Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, the BLM is increasing access to recreation sites in Oregon and Washington.
The BLM is working with local partners as well as federal, state, and local public health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and will use a phased approach to increase access on a case-by-case basis. Visitors should expect differing levels of service and available facilities on public lands.
Many BLM-managed trails and open spaces are still accessible across Oregon and Washington State. The BLM encourages responsible, local recreation close to home to avoid putting strain on other communities. Visitors are encouraged to contact the appropriate District office for the most current information on Operations prior to visiting public lands.
Trash pickup and sanitation services that were temporarily suspended will be phased back into operations but visitors should be prepared to pack out all trash. In addition, all BLM offices are closed or have limited public access, though staff are available via phone and email. The BLM encourages responsible, local recreation to avoid putting strain on other communities.
Updates on affected BLM facilities can be found HERE.
Si View Metropolitan Parks District
All Si View parks and trails where social distancing (minimum of 6 feet between people) can be maintained remain open. The Disc Golf at South Fork Landing is open with safety requirements posted on site.
Updated as of May 22nd, all Si View facilities will remain closed until our community enters Phase 3, except for passive use of park spaces, disc golf, and childcare for families of essential workers. We anticipate re-opening our active outdoor recreation facilities such as park restrooms, sports courts, bike parks, and limited recreation programming in Phase 3. Additional recreation programming including aquatics will resume in Phase 4. Most summer events have either been canceled or postponed, however, the Farmers Market has been permitted to operate on a limited basis starting June 11. (read more)
WA Statewide Joint Response
On July 1st, Gov. Inslee announced an updated 4-phase, county-by-county “Safe Start” reopening plan.
If approved to move into a new phase, counties will stay in that phase for a minimum of three weeks. This is how long it takes for health experts to assess the impact of reopening. The state’s COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard provides data about COVID-19 activity in each county.
Visit the county status page see which phase your county is in.
The What’s Open page has an overview of activities allowed during each phase.
Click HERE to read more of what you need to know regarding WA State Coronavirus Response.