VANCOUVER, Wash. — Washington state reopened many recreational opportunities on Tuesday, including hunting, fishing and golf.
Most state parks also reopened for day use only. State parks on the Washington Coast and Columbia River Gorge remain closed; Governor Jay Inslee remains concerned visitors from outside those areas will converge on them and put small communities at risk. State leaders want people to recreate responsibly in their home areas, and not travel far.
The opening of the fishing season was welcomed by hundreds of anglers launching onto the Columbia River from Vancouver’s Marine Park on Tuesday. Some wore masks, at least around the boat ramps and docks. Clark County deputies with the Marine Patrol watched over things, but were more concerned with overeager or unprepared boaters than people invading others’ space.
“I’m more concerned about that and personal safety than I am about social distancing, I think people are going to self-govern with that, and if they wear masks they wear masks,” said Sgt. Alex Schoening, who leads the Marine Patrol.
At Battle Ground Lake State Park, the campground remains closed, but day use around the lake is back open. On opening day, overcrowding was not an issue in the early afternoon. And people were enjoying the scenic spot and the fishing.
“It’s wonderful, I really appreciate it. It’s nice to get out with my daughters and spend some quality time with them, you know with this whole virus thing going on,” said Curtis Dietz, who was being out-fished by his kids.
The state park had restrooms open with social distancing guidelines posted. The playground was closed. State parks officials say rangers can’t monitor for COVID-19 health safety everywhere, so people need to act responsibly.
“If we find that a park is getting overcrowded, unfortunately, we’ll just have to close it,” parks spokesperson Anna Gill. “We don’t want to do that so we’re really hoping people will act responsibly and can enjoy the outdoors for the rest of the summer.”
Click here for more information on COVID-19 and Washington State Parks.
Click here for more information on COVID-19 and fishing and hunting in Washington.