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California, Oregon State Parks Close To Slow COVID-19 Transmission

Image of a trail in the redwoods.
California State Parks
Humboldt Redwoods State Park

State parks in Oregon and many in California are now closed because of both state’s shelter in place orders.

The Oregon order affects campgrounds, including trails and state park facilities. It went into effect late Monday as part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. While many National Parks are still open, Crater Lake National Park is also closed because of the state order by request of the state health department.

“We would have preferred an orderly shutdown of the system and to remain open for daytime visits, but our concern for the effects on rural health care systems requires us to move up and expand our plans,” wrote Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in a press release on Monday.

The closures are meant to reduce visiting crowds, protect the health of park staff and volunteers and reduce traffic in the grocery stores and health centers in local communities nearby.

All California campgrounds were closed last week out of similar coronavirus concerns. Non-campground areas of California parks including trails and beaches are still open but visitors are being asked to walk, hike and bike in their own neighborhoods and local parks.

California parks with high visitation are also temporarily closed to vehicle traffic.

The California campground closures are in effect until further notice. The Oregon closures will go until at least May 8.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.