What to Expect at Local Parks and Trails
Most outdoor facilities and parks are operational again, but not all, so it is wise to plan ahead or travel with plan B or plan C in mind.
First, remember closer to home is better. Explore open trails and parks that are close to your home neighborhood first. Plan further road trips and nearby vacations carefully and with respect to the communities you plan to visit. Luckily, we've got plenty of green spaces all around us!
Second, know that you're going to have to do some extra research before you leave home. Closures, restrictions and protocols will vary depending on the location and the agency managing the outdoor space. Make sure you confirm that your destination is accepting visitors and that you understand any additional requirements that may be in place.
How it Looks
Expect increased security and possible social distancing enforcement to ensure the safety of visitors at higher traffic destinations. Parking may be limited to create space between vehicles and reduce the number of visitors. If designated parking is full, don't try to park in an unsafe area — instead, use the opportunity to move on to a new destination and discover a new favorite trail!
You may see yellow tape, concrete barriers, cones or other materials preventing access to off-limit areas. Facilities such as restrooms, showers or information centers may be closed. Portable toilets and hand washing stations may be present, but have a back-up plan in case they aren't available.
Operating restrooms will be cleaned more frequently, but be prepared to provide your own soap, hand sanitizer and paper if needed. Waste receptacles may not be available, or may be full or locked. It's a great time to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out anything you pack in.
If you are hiking a loop trail, look for signs directing you to hike the trail in a specific direction to make social distancing easier. Watch for signs reminding you to maintain six feet from others and not to use benches, picnic tables or playground equipment.
And one more thing to note: Masks are now required outdoors when social distancing can't be maintained. This includes children over the age of 5 years old.
What is Open?
Safety and protocols are being considered at each park individually. Before heading out, make sure that the park you plan to visit is open. Check the managing agency's websites for the most up-to-date information:
- Social distancing when boating: Oregon State Marine Board
- State requirements for outdoor recreation organizations: Oregon Health Authority
- Day-use parks usage : Oregon State Parks
- Outdoor social distancing: Bureau of Land Management
Fun Things That You Can Do
Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride on open trails maintaining six feet between you and other parties. Remember to signal when passing others.
Kayak or sail or motorboat (just remember that some boat ramps may still be closed)
Fish, crab and hunt with a license.
Take Care Out There
Stay home if you are not feeling well.
Stick to your neighborhood parks and trails.
Have a back-up plan of where you'll go if you find a trail or park is crowded when you arrive.
Bring your own mask, soap, water, hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
Consider your impact on small communities. Be prepared with a full tank of gas, water and food before leaving home.
Call ahead. Visitor centers and ranger stations will likely be closed to walk-ins, but most are still available to provide important resources and information via phone or email.
Print maps and check weather conditions before heading out. Use our Adventure Checklist for general outdoor safety preparedness.
Follow Leave No Trace principles and plan to pack out everything you pack in.