8 state parks reopen in Oregon, more expected to follow


Popular recreational areas along the Oregon Coast and in the Gorge will be among the last to reopen

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A handful of Oregon state parks reopened this week for the first time since they were closed in March as part of the governor’s stay-home order. 

Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday the reopening of some state parks and outdoor recreation areas. Oregon leaders chose eight parks scattered around the state to reopen Wednesday on a trial basis. They include Portland’s Tryon Creek, Willamette Mission north of Keizer, the Mongold boat ramp at Detroit Lake, State Capitol State Park in Salem, The Cove Palisades boat ramp at Lake Billy Chinook, Pilot Butte in Bend, the Joseph Stewart boat ramp on Lost Creek Lake near Shady Cove and the Prineville Reservoir boat ramp. 

KOIN 6 News learned the parks were chosen based on the community’s feedback. But some of the locations present potential problems. Tryon Creek is a popular hiking park featuring many narrow trails. 

“We need to discourage long-distance travel,” explained Chris Havel with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “So there are parks in Oregon with more room. Eventually—hopefully—we will offer more service at those, too, but we wanted to avoid people having to travel three-to-four hours to get to a destination.” 

Officials recommend wearing a mask at the newly-reopened parks, but it’s not a requirement. Visitors should also come prepared for limited restroom services and recreate only with people in their own households.

Check online before you go

Gov. Brown’s office said limited day-use will slowly return to other state parks starting next week. The next parks to reopen will be chosen based on each community’s readiness to welcome visitors and how prepared each park is in terms of staff, supplies and equipment. Ski resorts are expected to reopen soon.

Campgrounds and parks on the northern Oregon Coast, in the Columbia Gorge, at Smith Rock in Central Oregon and boat ramps along the John Day and Deschutes rivers remain closed. They are expected to be some of the last public areas to eventually reopen due to concerns of overcrowding.

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