PORTLAND, Ore — Many people are itching to get out from under the stay home order and enjoy some fresh air.
The Pacific Northwest is known for its endless natural playgrounds, from open spaces and trails, to beaches and parks, there is so much to explore and enjoy in this state.
All that nature and opportunity for exercise can really help better people's moods and physical health during this pandemic. But currently, to help stem the spread of COVID-19 and enforce social distancing, many parks, park amenities, trails and beach accesses are closed or have limited access.
As the weather warms up, local leaders and health officials are urging you to continue to physically distance yourself from other people. Enjoy the sun and nature, but do it safely. This is no time to let our guard down.
For the most part, in cities and counties around the Portland metro area, parks and trails are open, but playgrounds, courts and athletic fields are closed. That being said, parks and recreation departments and land managers across the region are urging safe social distancing if you're planning to opt outside.
We've compiled a list to help you navigate what's open and what's closed in your neck of the woods and around the area.
Oregon State Parks
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
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.
Oregon State Parks by status (tap here for mobile link):
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is temporarily closing developed recreation facilities in Oregon to help limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes all campgrounds, some day-use sites and restrooms. All campgrounds in Washington state are closed as well.
Yaquina Head Outstanding National Area and National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center are closed and trails and open space there are not accessible.
BLM-managed trails and open spaces are still open across the state.
“Despite facility closures, millions of acres of BLM-managed public lands across Oregon remain open to enjoy, as long as you do so responsibly,” BLM wrote.
The bureau encourages everyone to contact their local BLM office for closure details before visiting public lands.
U.S. Forest Service
The Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service closed developed recreation sites across Oregon and Washington, which includes campgrounds, day-use sites, trailheads, bathrooms, Sno-Parks, snow shelters, fire lookouts, hot springs, boat launch facilities and OHV trailhead facilities.
On May 5, Gov. Brown announced she would use an executive order to allow ski resorts to reopen. No additional details have been sent out.
All National Forest System lands in the boundary of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Washington and Oregon are closed to the public. You can’t enter, be within or park within the National Scenic Areas. The closure also means that dispersed-use and unofficial trails are off-limits. The Forest Service says it can enforce this and issue citations.
In Portland, all parks, natural areas and golf courses are open.
However, all indoor recreation facilities, including community centers, arts centers, pools, and Portland Tennis Center, as well as playgrounds, sports courts, fields and golf clubhouses (except for restrooms) are closed.
All Portland Parks & Recreation events are canceled through that date.
Portland Parks & Recreation announced "park greeters" will show up at parks across the city after reports of large crowds at local parks. Their role is to help enforce social distancing and educate the public about how to use the parks system and explain what facilities are open and closed.
Visit this page for a list of Portland parks closed to vehicles until further notice.
Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District (THPRD) manages the City of Beaverton’s parks and recreation facilities.
All parks and trails are open, but it closed all play structures and equipment, sports courts, skate parks, athletic fields, dog parks, picnic shelters, disc golf courses, bike tracks, fishing on Progress Lake and restrooms.
Park Patrol is enforcing the rules but THPRD says compliance and cooperation from the public is key because it’s challenging to respond to every violation.
City of Tualatin parks and trails are open but playgrounds, sports courts, picnic shelters, skate parks and off-leash dog areas are closed. Park restrooms are also closed but portable restrooms are open.
Tualatin is not allowing any group gatherings in its parks, trails or fields.
Parks are open but all playgrounds structures, basketball courts, skate park, dog parks and restrooms are closed.
Parks, trails and natural areas are open for walk-in use. Athletic fields, sports courts, dog parks, Luscher Farm, playgrounds, Water Sports Center and restrooms are closed. Parking lots at parks and natural areas are also closed.
Beginning May 4, the public golf course will re-open to the public, from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Clubhouse will remain closed to the public. Access to the clubhouse is limited to restroom use only by entry through the doors facing the parking lot. A portable toilet is located behind the 7th green.
Parks in West Linn are open as long as physical distancing from others is maintained. But boat ramps, play equipment, sports courts, fitness courts, athletic fields, skate parks, and bathrooms are closed.
All recreation programs events and facility rentals are canceled, including ACC, Sunset Fire Hall, Robinwood Station, McLean House and park clean-up events.
In Oregon City the pool and Pioneer Community Center are closed. Parks are still open but park amenities are closed, including Clackamette RV Park.
Clackamas County is closing all public parks and boat ramps.
North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District
North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD) manages parks, trail, natural areas and provides recreation programs, facilities and services in Milwaukie, Happy Valley and a large area of unincorporated Clackamas County, including Oak Grove, Jennings Lodge and Sunnyside. (Happy Valley recently withdrew from NCPRD and will manage its own parks and recreation services effective July 1.)
All parks, trails and natural areas are open for activities that don’t require close contact. But playgrounds, sports courts, athletic fields, dog park and restrooms are closed. NCPRD also closed all facilities, including the North Clackamas Aquatic Park, Milwaukie Center and Hood View Park.
NCPRD canceled all recreational programming and events.
Parks and trails in the City of Hillsboro are open.
All playgrounds, sports courts and public recreation equipment are off limits. Hillsboro Parks & Recreation programs, classes, concerts, leagues, facility rentals and events are canceled until further notice.
Forest Grove's parks and trails are open while playgrounds, restrooms, sports courts, skate park, picnic shelters and BMX areas are closed. The Forest Grove Aquatic Center is closed and programming is canceled.
The Sandy Community Center/Senior Center is closed, as are programs, activities and rentals. The Sandy Public Library and Hoodland Public Library are also closed.
All city parks and Oregon Trail School District campuses, fields and playgrounds are closed until further notice.
However, Sandy trails and the Community Garden are open.
In Gresham, parks and trails are open, but playgrounds, skate parks, sports courts and fields are closed.
Estacada closed its playgrounds, sports courts and skate parks.
Wade Creek Park, PGE Timber Park, and Campanella Playground are closed.
The city says outdoor exercise is only allowed if you can be six feet away from others.
Troutdale city parks are open but playgrounds are closed. Tennis courts and basketball courts are also closed.
Regional government, Metro, owns and operates 17,000 acres of regional parks, trails and natural areas in the Portland metro area. Its venues - Oregon Convention Center, Portland'5, Expo and the Oregon Zoo - are closed.
The agency says currently all Metro parks are open but playground areas are closed. Park restrooms are closed.
Blue Lake has modified hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday.
Oxbow Regional Park also has modified hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m each day. You are not allowed to camp at Oxbow until June 30. All picnic reservations there are canceled through that date.
Parks, trails, beaches and natural areas remain open but the city is encouraging people to limit using them and to exercise and spend time outdoors at home whenever possible.
Vancouver Parks & Recreation closed all active recreation areas. That means playgrounds, picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, skate parks, barbecues, disc golf and horseshoe pits are closed. Lawns and sports fields are open for walking and non-team activities only.
Certain restrooms are open during the day and are thoroughly cleaned twice a day. The city says it will work to maintain facilities but soap and cleanliness can’t be guaranteed at all times. Visitors use them at their own risk.
Gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed.
Pacific County, Wash.
All Pacific County hospitality lodging (hotels, short-term rentals, etc.) and beach approaches are closed until further notice.
Camping and day use in all privately-owned, county, state and federal parks is closed except to people who live there full-time.
Beach access, parking lots and ‘No Parking’ zones in public right-of-ways are also off-limits. Only commercial fishermen can use boat launches.
“Normally we would welcome and invite you, but these are not normal times. Please respect the health of our community and safety of our public places; stay home and stay safe,” Tillamook County’s online travel notice reads.
Beaches remain open to walkers north of the Necanicum River are open. All beach users must observe social-distancing guidelines.
Fort Stevens and Ecola State Park are also closed.
Vehicle access to the beach is open at Sunset Beach Road and Del Rey Beach Road but Clatsop County is installing gates this week at the beach entrances to restrict vehicle access if need be.
The road to access the beach at Gearhart is closed to vehicles.
Beaches in the city of Seaside are closed. The beach in Clatsop County itself, except in Seaside, is open.
Campgrounds are closed to most visitors through at least May 31. The emergency order to close short-term lodging and campgrounds was put in place after visitors flocked to the Oregon Coast the weekend before the governor’s stay home order went into effect.
The order covers unincorporated Clatsop County as well as any other areas not covered by an emergency declaration. Astoria, Cannon Beach and Warrenton passed their own orders, while Seaside and Gearhart implemented the county’s order.
Day use areas at Moonshine Park, Elk City Park and Jack Morgan Park are open, but camping in Lincoln County on the Oregon Coast is not allowed until further notice.
Other day use parks and boat ramps are closed in the county.
Protect yourself and others while out in nature or at parks
If you plan on visiting one of the many parks in the region, do so while maintaining social distancing. Don’t congregate in groups, and if you do visit parks or trails with other people, limit it to those you live with.
It’s advised you recreate locally to avoid putting a strain on other communities. Visit areas close to home and avoid popular or crowded spots where social distancing is nearly impossible.
The National Recreation and Park Association is recommending that people:
- Stay home if they feel sick;
- Wash their hands before and after hitting the trails or visiting parks;
- Be prepared for limited access to restrooms or water fountains;
- Share the trail and announce you’re on the trail so other users are warned;
- Step aside to let others pass;
- Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people.