Some of Oregon’s popular state parks will stay closed at least through the summer due to budget cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said it's currently facing a $22 million budget gap, forcing many parks and recreation sites around the state to operate with limited services.
The department said at least eight state parks will remain closed until Labor Day, Sept. 7, or later.
Those parks are:
- Alfred A. Loeb State Park campground and day-use.
- Battle Mountain Forest State Scenic Corridor day-use (no campground).
- Cape Blanco State Park campground and day-use (closed through 2020).
- Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park campground.
- Devil's Lake State Recreation Area campground.
- Saddle Mountain State Natural Area campground and trails.
- Ukiah-Dale Forest State Scenic Corridor campground and day-use.
- Umpqua Lighthouse State Park campground.
The department said it may add other parks to that list in the future and urged people to check its website before visiting a park or recreation area.
“When it became clear in spring that revenues were going to be unstable, we froze hiring, curtailed discretionary spending and suspended large improvement and repair projects and other programs such as grants,” the department said in a statement on its website.
The parks and recreation department said it has only hired 77 seasonal staff out of the 415 positions allotted. It is also laying off nearly 50 people in other areas by June 30.
Because of reduced staff, the department said, many of its facilities will be closed or have reduced hours. Places like showers and restroom facilities, ranger booths and welcome stations will be affected.
The department reminds people who do plan on visiting state parks to choose a park close to home in order to avoid nonessential travel, stay home if you’re feeling sick and to make sure to maintain physical distance from other visitors.