DCNR extends closure of state park and forest facilities, open spaces remain accessible

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced Monday the closure of all facilities at state parks and forests in Pennsylvania until April 30. Trails, lakes, forests, roads and parking areas as well as other open spaces will remain accessible.

The closure will affect the state’s 121 parks and 20 forest districts. While hiking is still permitted, campground and all overnight accommodations are closed. Anyone with reservations for dates prior to the re-opening will be contacted and issued a full refund.

“During the past week we’ve seen many people hiking trails and heading to the outdoors as a way to get exercise and relieve stress,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn said in a statement. “We remind everyone that it’s OK to go outside, but we should still be practicing social distancing to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“This means we should spread out for outdoor activities – if you visit a public place and the parking lot or trailhead is crowded, try another spot, or head back to your neighborhood to take a walk if that’s possible,” Dunn said. 

Closed DCNR facilities include:

  • Park and forest offices and visitor centers
  • Restrooms
  • Campgrounds, cabins and all forms of overnight accommodations
  • All reservable facilities
  • Public programs, events, and trainings are canceled through April 30 

Visitors can help keep state parks and forest lands safe and clean by following these practices:

  • Avoid crowded parking lots and trailheads
  • Use the bathroom before you visit
  • Bring a bag and carry out your trash
  • Clean up after pets
  • Avoid activities that put you at greater risk of injury, as there is limited staff to assist 

To help avoid exposure to COVID-19 and still enjoy the outdoors:

  • Don’t hike or recreate in groups – go with those under the same roof, and adhere to social distancing (stay 6 feet apart)
  • Take hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
  • If you are sick, stay home 

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