Breaking News
More () »

Camping in the COVID era will mean limited staff and facilities at campgrounds

There are 36 state parks that are open for camping and day-use in Oregon.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon State Parks reopened camping at 36 state parks and some are already partially full.

Like many places, campgrounds will reflect the COVID-19 era we are in with signs asking campers to socially distance themselves. There will also be a reduced staff.

"When folks come out to the parks, they might see rangers wearing masks, they'll see signs asking folks to physically distance and be careful and wash their hands and to continue to keep up their hygiene." says Jo Niehaus with Oregon Parks and Recreation.

RELATED: Summer camp volunteers making special deliveries to kids in low income neighborhoods

She says the state wasn't able to hire as many seasonal workers as before which means there will be a reduction in facilities available to use. Restrooms might be blocked off or showers unavailable because there isn't enough staff to maintain them. That's not the only difference.

Firewood and ice sales may also be limited or unavailable in certain parks.

"It just kind of depends on where people are going and where we can have more rangers working," Niehaus says.

Due to a lack of volunteers, campsites or campsite loops won't be open either.

"A lot of our hosts and volunteers are older, they're in a more vulnerable group and with the COVID-19 situation, many have opted to sit out this season of volunteering," Niehaus says.

Oregon State Parks are also limiting how far out you can book a reservation. Normally there's a nine-month window, the state has reduced that to just two weeks. Niehaus says it's a precaution in case the parks have to close down or limit availability in the future.

RELATED: Overnight camping at Oregon state parks, forests and wildlife areas suspended due to coronavirus

Before You Leave, Check This Out