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Posted on: May 3, 2020

Washington's Phased Approach & More Access to Outdoor Recreation

On Tuesday, May 5th, state lands are set to reopen as part of Washington’s phased approach to reopen businesses and outdoor recreation. Phase 1 begins on May 5th. 

  • In addition to public lands, more businesses will begin to open (landscaping, automobile sales, retail outlets with curbside pick, car washes, pet walking services), as long as these businesses can provide a safe environment and follow physical distancing requirements.

  • This plan continues to ban gatherings, but does allow drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle.

  • As part of this plan, Governor Inslee extended the stay home, stay healthy order until May 31st, which means while some businesses begin to reopen, all Washingtonians are encouraged to stay home except for essential trips. 

What does this mean for outdoor recreation?

Public lands that will reopen include state park day use areas, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources, and state Fish and Wildlife areas. Hunting, fishing and golfing are also reopened. 

Restrooms will be open, but not at all locations, particularly those that were closed for the winter. State campgrounds and playgrounds will not be reopening at this time. 

If you are planning a trip, outdoor activities that keep you close to home are best. When the data shows that we are limiting the spread of COVID-19, we will be able to move to Phase 2 of Washington’s Phased Approach, which allows camping and beaches to reopen, as well as additional businesses.

Many local parks continue to be open. However, most playgrounds, ball fields, fenced dog parks, and campgrounds are still closed right now. Most restrooms are open and are cleaned and sanitized daily. Be sure to check with your local parks department to learn more about what is open before you visit.

Use Public Spaces Safely

Open spaces and trails are wonderful places for us to be able to get outside, exercise and appreciate nature but must be enjoyed safely.

  • If you feel sick, save your outdoor adventure for another day. Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms should stay home and either get rest or arrange for a COVID-19 test.

  • Avoid traveling long distances to recreate. Visiting parks or open spaces that you can walk or bike to is better.

  • Practice physical distancing at trailheads, boat launches, fishing spots, and all areas in use by others. That means staying at least 6 feet away from other people. If your chosen destination is crowded, go elsewhere and come back another time. 

  • Don’t gather in groups. Aim to keep moving through open spaces and not to linger in any one area. All gatherings are still prohibited until May 31st under the Governor’s extended Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

  • Cloth masks are recommended any time you are out in public. Always practice good hygiene by washing hands often and avoid touching surfaces.

  • Don’t share food or gear. This will help protect others in your community.

We are grateful for those keeping our open spaces safe for themselves and others. Returning to “normal” life will be a careful process. As protective measures are eased, we will return to more and more of our traditional outdoor activities. This will depend on us doing it right - with physical distancing and proper care. If data shows that people are staying healthy, we will be able to relax more of these measures. To be part of the solution, follow the guidance provided by public lands officials and keep open spaces safe and enjoyable for everyone throughout the summer. We’re in this together.

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