Unexpected wave

Waikiki Beach at Cape Disappointment State Park is a major destination for visitors and residents alike.

OLYMPIA — All state-managed parks, wildlife areas and water access areas closed for at least two weeks starting March 25, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week.

In a March 24 Facebook post, the parks commission said the closure applies “not only to overnight camping but also for day use.”

The department’s spokeswoman said, however, that visiting park lands during the closure won’t be against the law.

“We are asking people to follow the governor’s direction and stay home. It is not illegal to access public lands, however gates will be up and all facilities, like restrooms, will be closed,” Anna Gill, State Parks communications director, said in response to an inquiry from the Chinook Observer.

“Beaches are more complicated,” she said, regarding the state’s ocean beaches that are managed by State Parks. “From what I understand, counties have blocked road access, but as for Parks jurisdiction, it is the same as our parks.”

The closure is in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order issued March 23, the agencies said.

The governor encouraged Washingtonians to continue getting outside, so long as we maintain a minimum of six feet in social distancing.

Parks entrance gates and facilities will be closed, and on-site public services will be suspended, the agency said. Essential staff will be present to preserve and protect resources.

Camping and other overnight accommodations on state-managed recreation lands will remain closed through April 30.

The public can find the latest information about State Parks and WDFW operations at:

Parks: state.wa.us/COVID19

WDFW: wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates

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