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Governor Brown Unlocks the Great Oregon Outdoors

Gov. Kate Brown
Loosening up the outdoors a bit…

Portland, OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced the limited opening of some state parks, outdoor recreation facilities, and areas across Oregon for day use effective immediately, with camping opportunities becoming available as federal, state, local, and private providers are able to prepare their facilities for visitors. Ski resorts will also be able to resume activities under a new executive order that will be forthcoming. As this limited reopening occurs, it is essential that Oregonians recreate responsibly to protect the health, wellness, and safety of themselves and others in local communities.

“Enjoying Oregon’s beauty and bounty is one of our state’s time-honored traditions,” said Governor Brown. “As we begin to slowly open up recreation sites, state parks, and ski areas, it is critical we ensure the health and safety of staff, volunteers, and the public. And that begins with each of us taking personal responsibility to be good stewards of our parks, and each other.”

Under the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order, not all outdoor recreation areas were closed. However, as concerns about public health and safety due to crowding and lack of physical distancing grew, Governor Brown supported the decisions of local, state, and federal jurisdictions to close sites to protect the health and safety of their communities.

Oregon’s outdoor recreation providers and the Oregon Health Authority have partnered to create recommendations for safely and gradually offering limited outdoor recreation opportunities. This approach will not open all day use and camping opportunities at once.

Reopening outdoor recreation areas will be a phased approach as it becomes safe for some communities and recreational providers to do so, and will change the way that Oregonians visit some familiar sites. Columbia River Gorge parks and recreation areas, as well as coastal areas that are not yet ready to welcome visitors back, will remain closed for now, while the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department coordinates with local jurisdictions and partners in Washington to determine the appropriate timing for reopening.

Guidelines for responsible outdoor recreation include:

Prepare before you go:
• Limit your recreation activities, and recreate only with people in your own household.
• Check what’s open before leaving home. Your favorite trail or camp site may remain closed, or need to be closed on a temporary basis, to prevent crowding and protect public health.
• Plan ahead and come prepared as service levels may be different than you are accustomed to.
• Visitors may find limited restroom services available. Plan to bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.
• Bring a mask to cover your nose and mouth. Visit less crowded areas, visit during off-peak times, and have a back-up plan.
• Not feeling well? Don’t go. If you have symptoms of a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, stay home.

Take care when you get there:
• Be safe and responsible by choosing activities within your comfort zone.
• Leave no trace, and pack out what you pack in.
• Maintain your own personal hygiene like washing your hands often, bringing your own water, hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper.
• Avoid crowds. Be prepared for last minute changes to ensure the safety and health of others.
• All of the standard ways to protect public health apply in the outdoors too, like maintaining physical distance.
• Keep at least 6 feet between you and other Oregonians enjoying the outdoors. Launch one boat at a time to ensure other Oregonians have enough space to launch safely and securely.
• Leave at least one parking space between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you.
• It is wildfire season. Please remain safe and vigilant to ensure forest health and safety. Do not start fires in undesignated areas. Check if your campground or park allows outdoor fires before you strike a match. If permitted, make sure you are building a campfire properly and that you have water or an extinguisher on hand. Before you leave, ensure the campfire is out. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

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