Social Distancing in the Great Outdoors.
With spring here and after a long week of feeling isolated, a weekend outing to get some fresh air and enjoy the scenery sounds like a great idea.Being surrounded by public lands and great views in Baker County there are lots of options to get outdoors. If you’re headed outdoors please remember that social distancing is still important and plan ahead as there are closures and other restrictions that you will want to be aware of and plan accordingly.
Social distancing practices should be included as part of your travel planning for your trip. Remember that you vehicle is an enclosed space and it may be best to travel with limited passengers rather than carpooling . Also remember, high traffic areas including trailheads, playgrounds and parking lots should be treated with extra caution as these are areas with potentially higher rate of contact with other visitors. Surfaces including gates, information kiosks, and playground equipment should be considered with the same level of caution as any other public surface.
Please remember that as the current situation continues to evolve this information is subject to change and you should check the websites below or those for your destination for the most current updates.
If you’re heading outdoors in Baker County, here’s what we know at the moment.
Oregon State Parks: Updated March 22 The COVID-19 situation is very fluid and in order to follow Governor Kate Brown’s order to maintain social distance, Oregon State Parks has made the difficult decision to close the entire state park system by March 23. The last night any camper can stay is March 22.
This closure will last at least until May 8. We’ll decide before then whether it’s time to re-open an parks.
For the most up to date information please visit https://oregonstateparks.org/ Where you can find the latest Covid 19 updates
BLM: Similarly, the Bureau of Land Management lands remain open, however again visitor centers, interpretive centers as well as offices are closed to the public. This closure includes the Oregon trail Interpretive Center, however the outdoor trail system remains open and can be accessed on foot from the small parking lot at the bottom of the driveway or one of several pullouts on hwy 86 .
As with Oregon State Parks the BLM is reminding visitors to continue to be vigilant with social distancing and visit responsibly.
For more information including closure updates and restrictions for BLM lands in Baker County please visit https://www.blm.gov/oregon-washington
US Forest Service: Kirkwood Ranch in Hells Canyon is the only USFS recreation site currently listed as closed. The USFS is not reporting any forest wide closures. Consistent with Parks and BLM. The USFS is encouraging visitors to visit wisely and responsibly and to maintain stringent social distancing practices and preventative hygiene during their visit particularly at higher point of contact areas including trailheads and restroom facilities.
The USFS is also reminding visitors to continue to use good judgment and plan ahead when visiting since it is spring and trail conditions can change quickly based on weather and elevation. For more information including the latest Forest alerts on closures, and restriction visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/wallowa-whitman/alerts-notices
Visitors should also remember that outdoor recreation has inherent risks and we encourage you to recreate with caution and good judgment to help avoid any incident that might put additional strain on our first responders and local medical facilities.