Campgrounds, cabins, golf courses, restrooms, playgrounds, state park marinas, and more were ordered closed at state parks across the state Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
According to Rocky Fork State Park Natural Resources Officer Adam Somerville, the order was is in response to the developing public health situation with COVID-19 and Monday’s Stay at Home order from the Ohio Department of Health.
A news release stated that the closure at all ODNR properties was designed to protect the health of both visitors and staff.
The Division of Wildlife also announced the closure of the boardwalk and parking lot at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, located between Port Clinton and Maumee Bay on the Lake Erie shore.
Public outdoor spaces at Ohio state parks, wildlife areas, forests and nature preserves remain open, including trails, dog parks, and non-marina docks, the release said, but visitors were encouraged to use common sense and follow guidelines from the National Recreation and Park Association for staying safe. Those guidelines include:
• Follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines on personal hygiene prior to heading to trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use trails if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.
• Observe the CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.
• Warn other trail users of your presence as you approach them to allow proper distance, and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, or use a bell or horn when biking.
• Public restrooms may be closed due to safety concerns — be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
• Bring your own water or drinks — public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
• Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers and those who may share the park later.
Closures are expected to be temporary until COVID-19 guidelines change or are lifted.
For state park lodge or lodge cabin customers who wish to modify or cancel current reservations, visit GreatOhioLodges.com or call 877-496-9224.
The lodge and cabin operator, U.S. Hotels, is offering refunds for reservations made prior to closure.
To modify or cancel day use facilities, state park campground or state park cabin reservations, visit ReserveOhio.com or call 866-644-6727.
Ohio state parks offers free transfers of reservations to a later date, or refunds for reservations made between March 17 and May 15, 2020.
For more information on COVID-19 and ODH’s recommendations on prevention and preparation, go online to coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.