HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced Thursday the phased reopening of all beaches and some pools in Pennsylvania state parks.
The decision is in keeping with Governor Tom Wolf's direction to ensure Pennsylvanians have the chance to safely enjoy outdoor recreation and maintain positive physical and mental health, Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said in a press release.
Effective June 6, all 58 state park beaches will be open to swimming, Dunn said.
State park pools will remain closed through at least June 12, with most in designated yellow and green counties reopening June 13.
“Water-based activity is an integral part of the state park experience in Pennsylvania and, with appropriate protocols in place to ensure safety and as staffing permits, this department continues to reopen its state parks and forests so that Pennsylvanians can realize all the benefits of being outdoors,” Dunn said.
Capacity at beaches and pools will be limited to 50 percent of the normal facility capacity, the secretary said. Mitigation measures will also be in place, including restricting visitor parking, controlling facility access, social distancing and the wearing of face masks when not in the water.
All CDC guidance remains in effect, Dunn said.
Dunn reminded visitors lifeguards are on duty at beaches at two state parks: Fuller Lake, at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland County, and Presque Isle State Park, Erie County.
Because of necessary maintenance work, swimming pools at Ryerson Station State Park, Greene County, and Codorus State Park, York County will not be opening for the 2020 season, Dunn said.
Meanwhile, in a related development as the latest counties were announced as yellow, Dunn said facilities would be reopening at 18 state parks in eight counties.
Family campground sites and park offices will open May 29 at these 18 state parks, Dunn said.
Also opening May 29 will be district offices in the following state forest districts: Michaux, Weiser, Rothrock and Delaware.
Pinchot’s Luzerne County sites will open; however designated campsites will remain closed at Moon Lake Recreation Area.
Pinchot Resource Management Center, in red Lackawanna County, will remain closed and not be issuing permits or conducting other business before June 5. Pinchot State Forest in Lackawanna County is open (under red county guidelines), but designated campsites and picnic pavilions are closed.
Tent and RV camping also opened May 22.
In counties first announced as yellow, park and forest district offices and tent and RV camping reopened May 15.
Facilities such as cabins, cottages, lodges, and yurts will be opening statewide on June 12th.
The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park, Centre County, also reopened May 15.
DCNR is following Governor Wolf’s plan and process for reopening Pennsylvania using red, yellow and green colors to outline restrictions in place for that county. The red phase has the most restrictions, which are eased as counties move to yellow and green. DCNR is following this approach to begin opening facilities in counties that are designated as yellow.
Regardless of any county color designation, all state parks and forests now have at least one restroom open to the public in day-use areas and in marinas statewide. Additional cleaning protocols are in place to help protect park and forest visitors.
In addition, the public can still access DCNR trails, lakes, rivers, streams, forests, roads, and parking areas statewide for recreation.
All nine marinas in state parks are open. Shoreline mooring sites at all state parks also are open. In addition, three public golf courses in Caledonia and Evansburg state parks and Michaux State Forest are authorized to be open to the public. These golf courses are operated by private concessions.
Boat concessions (which are privately operated) in red counties will remain closed. Boat concessions in yellow counties are permitted to be open, but in some cases are not. State parks should be called directly for more information about marinas and boat concessions.
Except for one restroom in each day-use area, all state park and forest facilities in the red phase will remain closed until changes are made consistent with Governor Wolf’s guidelines for reopening.
All picnic pavilion reservations, playgrounds, nature play areas, interpretive centers, amphitheaters, and group camping facilities statewide will remain closed until further notice.