California State Parks increase vehicular access, but coronavirus guidelines remain

California State Parks increase vehicular access, but coronavirus guidelines remain

  • Updated
Parking lots partially reopen at 27 California state parks

In this April 25, 2006, file photo, a group of spineless cactus are shown outside a distillery by Jack London's cottage at Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen, Calif. The parking lots of 27 California state parks have partially reopened weeks after the 280 state parks and beaches closed their parking lots to discourage non-local visitors, officials said Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Parking lots were partially reopened at Jack London State Historic Park in Sonoma County, Lake Oroville State Recreation Area in Butte County and several state beaches in Orange County, including Huntington, Bolsa Chica and Crystal Cove, among others.

Officials with the California Department of Parks and Recreation have increased access to public parking in some locations, but restrictions and guidelines remain in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday, 27 of the state’s 280 parks opened access for visitors traveling by vehicle, while 36 remain fully closed, according to Gloria Sandoval, State Parks’ director of public affairs. The additional 207 parks are open with limited or no parking.

The news on the state’s parks came days before the announcement that two national parks in California are planning to reopen.

Park and beach closures have included parking lots, restrooms and high-use indoor facilities such as museums and visitor centers. The State Parks website states that should overcrowding inhibit physical distancing, visitors may be asked to leave.

“Just because the stay-at-home order may be modified, it does not mean things are going back to normal,” Sandoval said in an email received by The Sacramento Bee. “It is critical that Californians continue to stay close to home, practice physical distancing, avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household and abide to the new visitor guidelines State Parks has implemented across the state park system to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Sandoval added that the reopening of public outdoor spaces will be made with “little advanced notice” and that “visitors should expect a different state park experience than they are used to.”

Visitor guidelines suggest that the public bike or walk to parks near their home, while focusing on active rather than passive recreation. Due to the closure of many restrooms, guidelines also suggest carrying soap or sanitizer, but the use of barbecues, umbrellas, shade tents, coolers and chairs has been prohibited at many locations.

The department was unable to say how many citations have been issued at parks.

“Though the State Park Peace Officers and allied law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public will adhere to the advice of the public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.” Sandoval wrote. “State Parks will continue to monitor visitation and physical distancing across the state park system and if unsafe conditions develop, park units may close again.”

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park remains closed to vehicular access, while the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area has been opened to vehicles at Folsom Point, Negro Bar and Nimbus Flat. Day-use facilities, restrooms and boat-launching facilities have also been opened.

Location of parks with increased parking:

Butte County

Lake Oroville State Recreational Area

El Dorado County

Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park

Emerald Bay State Park

Folsom Lake State Recreational Area (also in Sac and Placer county)

Lake Valley State Recreational Area

Washoe Meadows State Park

Kern County

Onyx Ranch

Nevada County

Donner Memorial State Park

Orange County

Bolsa Chica State Beach

Doheny State Beach

Huntington State Beach

San Clemente State Beach

Crystal Cove State Beach

Placer County

Auburn State Recreational Area

Kings Beach State Recreational Area

Riverside County

Lake Perris State Recreational Area

San Benito County

Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreational Area

Santa Cruz County

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

Wilder RanchState Park

Shasta County

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

Sonoma County

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Austin Creek State Recreational Area

Jack London State Historical Park

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Trione-Annadel State Park

Tuolumne County

Columbia State Historical Park

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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