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Some Oregon parks, recreation areas reopening for day use

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said some parks are opening this week, but coastal areas and sites in the Columbia Gorge will remain closed for now.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced the opening of some state parks and outdoor recreation areas across the state.

Coastal areas, however, will remain closed for now, as well as parks and recreation sites in the Columbia River Gorge.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said the following state parks will be open for day use starting Wednesday, May 6:

  • 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 (no vehicles) in Bend
Credit: Celeste Ruiz
Oregon state parks and recreation areas that are opening, as of May 6, 2020.

Parking will be limited at the reopened parks.

Camp sites will eventually become available as federal, state, local and private providers are able to prepare their areas for visitors. Ski resorts will also be able to reopen under an upcoming executive order, Brown announced.

“As we begin to slowly open up recreation sites, state parks, and ski areas opportunities, it is critical we ensure the health and safety of staff, volunteers, and the public,” Brown said in a news release. “And that begins with each of us taking personal responsibility to be good stewards of our parks, and each other.”

Not all day-use parks will open at once. Reopening parks and recreation areas is a phased approach by the Oregon Health Authority and state outdoor recreation providers.

The parks department said high-density parks on the north coast, the Columbia Gorge, those with boat access 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. No dates for reopening state parks in those areas have been announced.

RELATED: Some fishing, golfing, hiking, hunting can resume May 5 in Washington state

The governor’s office released the following guidelines for visiting parks and outdoor areas:

Prepare before you go:

  • Limit your recreation activities, and recreate only with people in your own household.
  • Check what’s open before leaving home. Your favorite trail or camp site may remain closed, or need to be closed on a temporary basis, to prevent crowding and protect public health.
  • Plan ahead and come prepared as service levels may be different than you are accustomed to.
  • Visitors may find limited restroom services available. Plan to bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.
  • Bring a mask to cover your nose and mouth. Visit less crowded areas, visit during off-peak times, and have a back-up plan.
  • Not feeling well? Don’t go. If you have symptoms of a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, stay home.

Take care when you get there:

  • Be safe and responsible by choosing activities within your comfort zone.
  • Leave no trace, and pack out what you pack in.
  • Maintain your own personal hygiene like washing your hands often, bringing your own water, hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper.
  • Avoid crowds. Be prepared for last minute changes to ensure the safety and health of others.
  • All of the standard ways to protect public health apply in the outdoors too, like maintaining physical distance.
  • Keep at least 6 feet between you and other Oregonians enjoying the outdoors. Launch one boat at time to ensure other Oregonians have enough space to launch safely and securely.
  • Leave at least one parking space between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you.
  • It is wildfire season. Please remain safe and vigilant to ensure forest health and safety. Do not start fires in undesignated areas. Check if your campground or park allows outdoor fires before you strike a match. If permitted, make sure you are building a campfire properly and that you have water or an extinguisher on hand. Before you leave, ensure the campfire is out. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.

RELATED: More than 100 Washington state parks opened Tuesday

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