Sunday, March 29, 2020

CoVID-19: California Closes State Parks To Vehicular Traffic

Hiking Anza-Borrego Slot Canyon in March of 2019

Well, we couldn't stay away. Californians heard the warnings and threats and then, as we do, found the loopholes. Last week it was City parks and beaches and canyons that closed, so everyone (including my family) found county and state park loopholes, or sought the cities where closures hadn't gone into effect, like Oceanside and Coronado. But it's bad. And the numbers keep growing. And we don't want to be like Italy. And I know we are accustomed to a certain lifestyle here in Southern California, that's why we pay the so-called 'sunshine tax' to live here, but now the state parks have had to shut down to vehicular traffic, too. And this is a good little primer from KQED: Can I Go Hiking During California's Shelter in Place? Yes, But Read This First, though I just realized this was posted on Friday, before the state expanded their closures. It's so confusing. I know.

Full press release after the jump.

California State Parks Closes Vehicular Access at all State Parks

For Immediate Release: March 29, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California State Parks today announced it is temporarily closing vehicle access at all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Saturday, many state parks once again experienced visitation surges that made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social/ physical distancing practices. During this pandemic disease, every person has a role to play in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Protecting individuals, families and communities comes down to common sense.

As such, the public is reminded to adhere to the following guidance:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Stay close to home when you get outdoors. This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach.
  • Venture out only with people in your immediate household.
  • Walk around the neighborhood and enjoy neighborhood parks.
  • Always maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more when recreating in the outdoors. If you cannot maintain physical distancing, leave the park.
  • Do not congregate in parks.

To date, the department has implemented various safety measures such as temporarily closing all campgrounds, museums and visitor centers in the State Parks System; cancelling all events; and closing vehicular traffic at certain parks and beaches, and fully closing others.
California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting Californians from COVID-19. State Parks is monitoring the situation closely and is following guidance provided by the Governor’s Office via the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Protecting visitors and all who take care of state parks from the exposure to the pandemic disease is a top priority for the State of California.

State Parks will continue to monitor visitation and physical distancing at all state park units, and if the safety measures implemented thus far are not sufficient to protect public health, additional measures may be taken to fully close parks, including trails, bathrooms and other amenities.

State Parks has developed a one-stop resource center––––to find park safety and closure information, and messaging and graphics from the “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” social media awareness campaign. Please check this webpage regularly, as it will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Always maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more when recreating in the outdoors.
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