The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has started opening some of the parks along the South Coast, including Umpqua River Lighthouse and Tugman State Park in the Reedsport and Lakeside areas.
Only the day-use portions of parks are open. The entire state parks system will be closed to camping through June 8. State park camping will return as soon as it can be safely managed.
Officials said state parks will open and close with little advance notice. Updates will be posted online at oregonstateparks.org and people also can call 800-551-6949 (Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Not all restrooms will be open and parking will be limited.
Both Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, which includes the popular fishing spot Lake Marie, and Tugman State Park, which includes Eel Lake, are open to limited services. The same is true farther up the coast at Honeyman State Park south of Florence and Heceta Head Lighthouse viewpoint north of Florence.
In addition, tours of the Umpqua River Lighthouse and the museum gift shop have reopened. The lighthouse and adjacent museum are operated and maintained by the Douglas County Parks Department. For information about museum and lighthouse tours, call 541-271-4631.
Also open to limited service further down the South Coast are Sunset Bay, Shore Acres and Cape Arago near Charleston and parks in the Bandon area.
Douglas County Parks
Douglas County Parks have been open since May 1 for day-use and RV Parks are open for limited use with self-contained units. The Douglas County Board of Commissioners sent out a notice Monday reminding citizens that campgrounds operated by the Douglas County Parks Department, while maintaining some limited use restrictions, continue to be open for the public's recreational enjoyment.
Additionally, as of May, 19, additional recreational opportunities are being offered, such as tent camping, non-self-contained recreational units and some cabin and yurt use at the parks listed below. Despite being open and with the new services being offered, the DCPD continues to encourage residents to follow the limited use restrictions, as well as the recommended CDC guidelines for physical distancing, sanitation and personal health.
“We do understand the role our outdoor recreational sites provide in keeping our residents mentally and physically healthy, accordingly our parks do have the capacity to allow you to get out and rejuvenate, while remaining dispersed,” commented Douglas County Board of Commissioners Board Chair Chris Boice.
As a reminder, this notice only applies to parks and campgrounds operated by Douglas County Parks Department and not state, federal or privately operated parks and campgrounds located in Douglas County. For information on parks and campgrounds operated by those agencies, contact them directly.
Douglas County operated campgrounds that added additional recreational opportunities on May 19:
• Charles V. Stanton County Park Campground
• Chief Miwaleta County Park Campground
• John P. Amacher County Park Campground
• Mildred Kanipe Memorial County Park Campground
• Pass Creek County Park Campground
• Whistler’s Bend County Park Campground
To see the Douglas County guidelines, visit www.co.douglas.or.us/parks.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management reopened access to Bastendorff Beach on Monday for day use and also has opened the trails system on the North Spit.
But the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area and the North Spit Boat Ramp remain closed.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service supports access to the dunes where access has been opened by counties or through private access points.
But the Forest Service campgrounds and developed day use areas in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area remain closed.
If you are going
Visitors should expect a different state or county park experience than they are used to because staffing has been limited and areas and buildings within the park may be closed. Visitors should also expect new restrictions that discourage group gatherings and congestion and will need to prepare by:
Staying home if they're sick.
If visiting, staying local and close to home, meaning less than 50 miles in urban areas.
Only visiting with members of their household.
Bringing all supplies — food, water, hand cleanser — needed for a short trip.
If a park appears crowded, leave and come back at another time. If there’s space at the park, patrons need to visit with care:
Wear a face covering. Homemade is fine.
Stay at least 6 feet away from people who aren’t from your household. More is better.
Cover your cough with a tissue (then throw it away), or the inside of your elbow.
Leave no trace: pack out everything you bring with you.
Stick to low-risk activities to reduce stress on local emergency response and health care systems.
Keep your visit short. Restrooms and other buildings may be closed.
Watch for signs at the park for more information.
“We know these last eight weeks has seemed longer, but your health is important to us,” says Lisa Sumption, OPRD director. “It is true outdoor recreation boosts our mental and physical health, but parks concentrate people in a community, and we have to do this carefully if it’s going to work.”
“We need your cooperation to keep parks open,” she added.
High-density parks on the north coast, the Columbia Gorge, boat accesses 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, and no dates for state parks in those regions have been announced.