Update March 23, 7:15 p.m.: Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered Washingtonians to “stay at home” through April 8. Social gatherings are banned, and while it’s still OK to take a walk outside, people have to do so while still following social distancing rules and maintaining a 6-foot distance from others.
With bars, restaurants, fitness centers and arts and entertainment venues shuttered to contain the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, going outside is one of the few recreational activities that remains in compliance with public health recommendations. But as local officials contend with crowding in popular outdoors spots and public health recommendations grow more stringent, it can be a challenge to know where you can still go for fresh air.
Here’s what’s off-limits, what’s fair game — and what falls in between. And regardless of where you go, keep in mind social distancing measures set by Public Health — Seattle & King County and consider whether you’ll realistically be able to keep a distance of six feet between you and others. If you can’t comply with the six-foot rule, go somewhere else.
State parks and campgrounds. According to a news release from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources, all campgrounds in Washington State Parks are closed through April 30. State parks will remain closed for at least two weeks. (Oregon State Parks are also closed, through May 8 at the earliest.)
Recreation areas in Seattle, Sammamish, Bellevue, Lynnwood and Kirkland. This includes picnic shelters, athletic fields and tennis/basketball courts, and an off-leash dog park in Lynnwood. King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreation announced the closure of recreation areas in Seattle and King Country parks on Friday, saying that “pick-up games, picnics and other large gatherings will not be permitted.”
All King County parks. They were closed starting Wednesday, March 25. The latest update from King County Parks says that this includes parking lot and trailhead gates, which will be locked, as well as restrooms.
All Everett Parks playgrounds are closed until further notice, as are the city’s Legion Memorial and Walter E Hall golf courses. Park facility rentals and programming, including youth and adult sports programs, are canceled or postponed.
Some national parks. While state parks have all closed to camping, the National Parks Service is “modifying operations” for locations that cannot comply with public health guidance on more of a case-by-case basis. Park facilities that have closed include Seattle’s Klondike Gold Rush Museum and Mount Rainier National Park‘s Longmire Museum, Paradise Jackson Visitor Center and Paradise Snowplay Area. Mount Rainier’s roads have also been closed to all motorized, non-motorized and pedestrian traffic, as has the National Park Inn, restaurant and gift shop. The latest park closure information for Washington is available online. North Cascades National Park is shutting down campsites and suspending services. Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is also temporarily closed; this includes trailheads, campgrounds and day-use areas.
Nature Conservancy lands. This includes Central Cascades Forests, Hoh River Forest Reserve, the Robert Y. Pratt Preserve at Ebey’s Landing and other Nature Conservancy-managed areas throughout the state.
All public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources. This includes all day-use areas, campgrounds, trails, roads, trailheads, flight launch sites, campgrounds, water access sites and recreation like camping and hunting.
Parks maintained by King County and the city of Seattle. While their playgrounds and ballfields are closed, the parks will remain open, as will park restrooms, which will be frequently cleaned and sanitized. This extends to “natural lands, regional trails, backcountry trails, and beaches where social distancing can be maintained.”
Parks, trails and other public outdoor recreation areas are also open in Bellevue, Kirkland, Sammamish, and Lynnwood. But visitors should comply with public health recommendations by limiting activities that people in close proximity and maintaining a distance of of six feet between people. (Translation: Walking is OK, racquetball is probably not.)
Some national parks. While state parks have shuttered, the national parks’ response has been more of a patchwork, with closures scattered throughout the network in Washington. The latest park closure information Washington is available online.