National and State parks during COVID-19

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State and national parks are evaluating their response to nationwide efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

State-owned campgrounds, managed state parks, the Department of Fish and Wildlife or the Department of Natural Resources across the state will be closed through April 30.

The campgrounds stopped accepting campers Monday, and will phase out those who are already on the land.

Day-use trails and beaches largely remain open, but after photos of crowds at Alki Beach over the weekend went viral, the state continues to encourage people to stay at home and practice proper social distancing outdoors.

The National Park Service has closed visitor centers, campgrounds, restaurants and lodges at many parks on a case-by-case basis, but will waive entrance fees for the parks that remain open.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible national parks,” David Bernhardt, secretary of the interior, said in a press release Wednesday.

Operations at Olympic National Park have been drastically reduced, with the the Hurricane Ridge, the Hoh Rain Forest visitor centers and the Port Angeles wilderness information center all closed.

Campgrounds at Staircase, Heat O’ the Hills, Ozette, Mora, Hoh, Kalaloch, Queets, North Forth and Graves Creek are all closed.

Campgrounds at Deer Park, Fairholme, Sol Duc and South Beach have not reopened after the winter season and remain closed.

Those wanting to visit national parks should seek specific information for the park they plan to visit and continue to practice social distancing while utilizing facilities.

Information about Washington’s national parks can be found at www.nps.gov/state/wa/index

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Libby Urner Wennstrom

Leader staff, please post an update to this story; by press time this was already out of date. State parks are now closed.

Saturday, March 28