State parks reopen slowly, central coast stays closed

Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site is the only state park property that is open and within the recommended traveling distance of eastern Lincoln County residents, though more are expected to open in the coming weeks. (Courtesy photo)

On May 6, eight inland state parks reopened to the public with limited services, primarily in central Oregon. In the announcement of this change from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, it was stated that limited day use would return to other parks beginning Monday, May 11, based on various factors.

As of Thursday morning, 14 parks were open, and an additional 54 offered access with a reduction in facilities or services — limited hours, closure of certain areas within the park, the park office remaining closed or other limitations. But along the Oregon coast, no parks north of Reedsport have opened. South of Reedsport, 12 parks have opened with a reduction in services or facilities, but none have opened fully.

Though nothing has been said about the central coast, OPRD did note in their release about the May 6 changes that high-density parks on the north coast “will likely be among the last to return to limited service.”

Those hoping to visit state parks are asked not to travel more than 50 miles to a park, which limits Lincoln County residents’ options. Only residents of Logsden and Eddysville are within the 50-mile range of Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site, located southwest of Monmouth, which is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Any of the state parks may open or close with little advance notice. Before heading out to any location, check oregonstateparks.org at any time, or call 800-551-6949 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to check that the park is still open. Keep in mind that not all restrooms will be open, and parking will be limited. If a park appears crowded, OPRD recommends coming back another time. For a full list of OPRD’s safety recommendations, visit oregonstateparks.org.

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