Public Land Closures and Reopenings During COVID-19

This blog is a round-up of public land closures and reopenings related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please respect these closures and as public lands re-open, recreate responsibly to keep the lands open for use!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
May 08, 2020

We’re excited that public lands are beginning to reopen for recreation. While we’re all eager to get back to our favorite places, it’s critically important that we recreate responsibly to keep lands open for use. This is not a return to normal: COVID-19 is very much still a public health threat and we all need to make extra efforts to keep each other safe and public lands open. Please see our How To: Recreate Responsibly blog and  visit our COVID-19 blog and response page for more information.

This is an incomplete list of current closures and reopenings and updates will be made as we receive them. Please check each land manager's website for more current information, and email info@mountaineers.org with any questions or updates.

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UPDATED 6/14/20

NATIONAL PARKS

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK

Mount Rainier National Park reopened the Nisqually to Paradise Road, providing vehicle access to Longmire and Paradise. Expanded access is now available on the park's east side near White River and Ohanapecosh campgrounds. Limited services will be available, including restrooms and trailheads. Visitor Centers, hotel lodging, and developed campgrounds will remain closed until it is safe to reopen them. Recreation on the Upper Mountain above 10,500' elevation will open on June 19. Make sure you read the climbing page for important updates on climbing Mount Rainier this year, especially for the Disappointment Cleaver route. For more information, visit the park’s website.

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK

North Cascades National Park Complex has reopened trails, trailheads, camping, the Wilderness Information Center, backcountry campsites/overnight stays. All visitor centers, group campsites, and the Cascade River Road remain closed. For more information, visit the park's website

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Olympic National Park is opening in phases, in consultation with local communities and Tribes. Currently most coastal areas of Olympic National Park remain closed to park visitors until further notice. All overnight camping, including in wilderness, is currently suspended. Visitor centers and ranger stations remain closed. The most recent information can be found on the park's website.  

NATIONAL FORESTS

The US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is encouraging visitors to check ahead of time to find out what areas are open.  Read more on the Pacific Northwest Region website, review their Coronavirus FAQs, and find more specific information for each forest.

Please note that as these sites begin reopening to the public, services (restrooms, trash, etc.) are anticipated to be limited or nonexistent as staff address maintenance backlogs and incorporate new safety procedures. Plan on packing out all of your trash, and do not assume that trailhead bathrooms will be open or usable.

WASHINGTON FORESTS

Tribal Land

The Makah Tribe has closed the Makah Reservation & Shi Shi Beach Trailhead to the general public until further notice. The Quileute Tribe has closed the Quileute Reservation to the general public which includes the Second Beach Trailhead.

STATE LAND

WASHINGTON STATE DNR

As of May 5, most lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources are open. Camping is available in most Phase 2 counties. Check the WA State DNR website for the latest site openings and before you plan your next adventure and follow the Governor's guidance and restrictions for recreation. Washington State DNR has also released a Recreate Responsibly Tip Sheet that applies to recreation on all public lands.

WASHINGTON STATE PARKS

Most state parks are open for day use. All parks open for camping and overnight moorage are located in counties that have moved into Phase 2 of Governor Inslee's Safe Start Plan. 

Please visit the Washington State Parks website for more detailed information.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lands are open for day use recreation. Campgrounds and dispersed camping is available in 22 counties that are open to camping. 

Visit the WDFW website for more detailed information.

King County

Backcountry trails are open. Ballfields, sports courts, and fields are open for informal recreation of groups of 5 or fewer outside the household. Restroms are closed. For more information, visit King County Parks website

OTHER CLOSURES & NOTICES

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Many BLM-managed trails and open space are accessible. Campgrounds, restrooms, and day use facilities will reopen on a case-by-case basis. Read more on their website

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

In alignment with Governor Inslee’s decision to partially reopen state recreational lands, lands owned or managed by The Nature Conservancy in Washington reopened May 5 with some important exceptions. For more information, visit The Nature Conservancy’s website.

NORTHWEST AVALANCHE CENTER

NWAC has decided to officially end avalanche forecasting for the remainder of the 2019/2020 season. Read their full statement online.

Photo by Luke Helgeson.


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Jeff Brennan
Jeff Brennan says:
Apr 22, 2020 08:57 AM

It's an absolute shame that our parks, where most of can easily practice separation, are closed down. And the Mountaineers shouldn't be quiet about it either.

The Mountaineers
The Mountaineers says:
Apr 29, 2020 03:29 PM

We're working in close partnership with land managers to understand how our members and programs can best re-engage with public lands and local communities while being mindful and supportive of the challenges they’re facing. As public lands begin to reopen in the coming weeks, it is critically important for all users to recreate responsibly. Read more on our blog: https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/how-to-recreate-responsibly-during-covid

Roseanne Lorenzana
Roseanne Lorenzana says:
Apr 25, 2020 11:44 AM

What information is available about BLM lands?

Leigh Ann Wolfe
Leigh Ann Wolfe says:
Apr 25, 2020 04:14 PM

For WA BLM info, check out the link below.

https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-temporarily-closes-recreation-sites-across-washington-state