Washington, Oregon campgrounds closed to reduce COVID-19 spread


OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission along with other agencies have closed campgrounds across the state to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The closure includes roofed accommodations like cabins. No new campers are allowed in starting on March 23. Current campers will be phase out, according to officials.

Governor Brown mimicked the same order. However, day-use areas will also be closed. Oregon Parks and Recreation previously ordered the closure to start April 3, but was moved up. The department will also close beaches if they feel that social distancing practices are not being followed.

“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,” says Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “We know this will cause a disruption, since we’re suspending service to everyone, even people who live near a park. Reducing contact between people is more important than recreation at the moment.”

Trails and other day-use areas will stay open in Washington state. However, due to the number of people visiting the state’s ocean beaches, officials are asking the public to avoid those areas in order to practice social distancing.

Campgrounds in Washington state will remain closed through April 30. Oregon has not said when they will reopen.