State Parks Expected to Be Busy, Possibly Overrun For 4th

Shawn Digity
July 02, 2020 - 9:12 pm
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    HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reminded parkgoers on Thursday to be mindful of the social distancing requirements for state parks.

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    With the 4th of July just around the corner and good weather in the forecast, Dunn stressed the point of park visitors taking the necessary steps to ensure safe distancing from each other, avoiding large crowds, and wearing a mask.

    "Weather, of course, is the determining factor in turnout at all our state parks and last weekend saw all our parks heavily visited," Dunn said.

    "Crowding forced one-day closings at two southeastern state parks -- Beltzville in Carbon County and Marsh Creek in Chester County -- but park officials expect crowding to be an issue at other state parks if weather is hot and dry this coming Fourth of July weekend."

    Capacities at the state parks will have the potential to become overrun with patrons as the 4th falls on a Saturday this year.

    "We fully understand the value of the outdoors experience during these trying times, and we encourage park visitors to spread out to other less popular state parks and consider off-times or days other than the weekend," Dunn said.

    "For would-be campers on this eve of a holiday weekend, all park campsites are booked, but so-called ‘primitive camping’ possibilities still exist in many of our state forests.

    "State forests also provide excellent avenues to hiking, picnicking and other outdoors activities."

    The state swimming pools and beaches will only be running at 75% capacity.

    If that limit is reached, then the facilities will be closed to newcomers, and they will have to wait for others to leave.

    Attendance analysis from earlier this year implies that there will be an uptick of visitors compared to years past.

    Dunn suggests having a Plan B if some of the recreation areas or parks are full of other people.

    The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has a digital map for visitors to see what’s closed and what’s opened.

    The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also has some general safety tips to make sure that visitors' minimize the threat of COVID-19 spread.  

    • Avoid crowded parking lots and trailheads
    • Bring a bag and either carry out your trash or dispose of it properly
    • Clean up after pets
    • Avoid activities that put you at greater risk of injury, so you don’t require a trip to the emergency room
    • Don’t hike or recreate in groups – go with those under the same roof, and adhere to social distancing
    • Take hand sanitizer with you and use 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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