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Generally, state and federal orders and guidelines related to social distancing still allow you to get outdoors and engage in physical activity and fun! However, there are a few details you should be made aware of related to closures of state and federal lands and facilities.
On May 15th Oregon Governor Brown gave approval for 30 counties across mostly rural Oregon to enter Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan. This includes all of the counties in Eastern Oregon. Most state parks in Eastern Oregon are open for day use only. La Grande Parks and Recreation has opened its day use parks including Morgan Lake. Currently, Washington is in Phase 1 of its plan, which includes the opening of some state parks for day use and eased restrictions on outdoor recreation activities, such as fishing, hunting and golf. Recreation in the Columbia River Gorge is still prohibited on both sides of the river. Regional National Forests are open for recreation, but “developed sites” like campgrounds, boat ramps, trailheads, and many restroom facilities are still closed.
In both Oregon and Washington outdoor exercise is seen as an “essential” activity and is permitted as long as you can maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. It is recommended that you wear a mask when you cannot maintain 6 feet of spacing.
Both Oregon and Washington are opening many of their state parks to day use, but still prohibiting overnight camping. In Oregon, find out which state parks are open at Oregon State Parks Status . Be sure to practice good hygiene and social distancing at any public outdoor recreation site. Here is another link of what to expect if you visit an Oregon State Park.
For Washington, be sure to visit the Washington State Parks website to see which state parks are currently open around the state. Most coastal state parks are still closed. All the state recreation sites along the Columbia River Gorge also remain closed. Washington state parks not closed are open to day use only.
While you can still recreate on federal lands like our national forests, most national forests in Oregon and Washington have closed their “developed” recreation sites to visitors. Developed sites are facilities like campgrounds, picnic areas, visitor centers, Sno-Parks, restrooms, and – in some cases – trailheads. This does vary by national forest and the BLM has differing restrictions. Luckily, for those of us in Eastern Oregon, there are a number of “undeveloped” sites and trails we can still access. These include Forest Service roads, trails, and dispersed campsites with no facilities like toilets or picnic tables. Be sure to check in directly with the ranger district where you are planning on recreating for specific restrictions. A good article on these restrictions can be found here – COVID-19 public land restrictions. Here are a few important specifics related to national forest closures in Oregon and Washington:
Outdoor Adventure Program
Located in Hoke 118
Rental Hours: M - F : 12-5pm
(except closed on Wednesdays)