SALEM, Ore. — Officials at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department say that camping will reopen at state parks beginning on June 9, though many of the details are still being worked out.
Despite the announcement, a statement from Parks said that the list of campgrounds that will reopen is still being finalized — set to be published on the state Parks website by the end of May.
"Not all parks and all services will be available," the agency said. "Most of the campgrounds opening accept reservations, but some first-come, first-served state park campgrounds may open as staff and funding are available."
The campgrounds that do open up will honor any existing tent and RV reservations beginning on June 9, and will start accepting new reservations between one day and two weeks in advance instead of the normal nine months. Reservations can be made through Reserve America.
RV and tent campers without reservations will be welcome at open campgrounds as space and staffing permit.
"Two main forces determine when a state park campground can open. Some communities, such as the north coast, are not yet ready for overnight visitors from outside their area," officials said.
However, the biggest factor is one of funding, according to the Parks agency.
"The Oregon State Park system is not funded by taxes, but by revenue from park visitors, a small share of the Oregon Lottery, and a portion of state recreational vehicle registrations," officials said. "The revenue needed to operate state parks has fallen drastically since March, meaning one of the most popular state park systems in the country is being operated by about half the usual staff."
Without a steady stream of funding, state parks are staffed with only a skeleton crew, and the agency says that it has "limited means" to hire more. As a result, there are few staff members to help visitors or maintain trash pickup, landscaping, and cleaning services.
"Interpretive activities and ranger programs will be few and far between, if at all," the agency said. "Restrooms are expected to be available at each open park, but some shower facilities may be closed. Service, and whether a park is open or not, is subject to change depending on health conditions around the park, available staff, protective equipment, and cleaning supplies."
Visitors can help state parks stay open with the following steps:
- Choose a park as close to home as possible. Don’t travel if you’re sick.
- Visit with members of your household.
- Bring everything you need with you: trash bags, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, food, water. Pack out everything you bring in.
- Be gentle with the trails, restrooms, showers, benches, and picnic tables.
- Take it easy on yourself by enjoying low-key, familiar activities.
- Be a good neighbor. Keep your pets on a leash, your site clean, and respect quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day.
- Keep at least six feet away from people from outside your household, and wear a face covering when you can’t. Avoid crowds even if you have a face covering.
- Cover coughs, and wash your hands regularly.
- Watch our Prepare + Care Welcome video.
“Oregon needs what its parks can provide,” says Lisa Sumption, OPRD Director. “This is less service than Oregonians are used to, and we’re doing our best to stretch the budget, but it will take continued cooperation and support from visitors to make this work.”