The first campgrounds in the state are welcoming back people looking to pitch a tent.
Southern Oregon's Douglas County has reopened sites that its parks department manages for overnight use, starting today. That does not, however, include state, federal or privately owned parks and campgrounds located in the same area, which remain off limits due to the coronavirus outbreak.
"We do understand the role our outdoor recreational sites provide in keeping our residents mentally and physically healthy," Douglas County Board Chair Chris Boice said in a release on the county's website. "Our parks do have the capacity to allow you to get out and rejuvenate, while remaining dispersed."
The county, whose most populated city is Roseburg, gave the OK to allow people back into day-use and RV parks on May 1. It's also among the 31 counties Gov. Kate Brown approved for Phase 1 of her reopening plan last week, which lifts operating restrictions on restaurants, bars, salons and gyms.
The new recreation expansion, which applies to six parks, includes some cabin and yurt rentals, though there are restrictions in place to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Campers should come prepared with their own soap, toilet paper and disinfecting wipes, as the county warns it is not sanitizing picnic tables or other amenities. No more than eight people can stay at any one site, and they must be state residents.
Staying 6 feet away from others is still the guideline, even in nature, while masks are recommended. And just stay home if you have a small bladder—restrooms are only open from 8 to 10 am and then again from 5 to 7 pm.
The relaunch is not an invitation to would-be campers from other parts of the state. Douglas County urges people to recreate locally, meaning traveling less than 50 miles from home to stay in the wilderness.