Outdoors activities are resuming under restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Washington and Idaho, different levels of openings have been underway over the last couple of weeks.
Hunting and fishing in Washington reopened on March 5, and some camping areas reopened in Oregon on Wednesday.
“Like many of you, we were excited to get back outside,” Kari Dingman, assistant wildlife area manager for W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area, said in a release on March 14. “Thousands of people headed outdoors this past week, and we have been pleased to see most people complying with the governor’s guidelines.
“Unfortunately, we also observed some dangerous crowding and illegal camping on and near some WDFW-managed wildlife areas,” Dingman said. “In the name of keeping both the public and our staff healthy, we hope this behavior can be curtailed with positive messaging and education. We want to do everything we can to keep state lands open.”
Washington reopened state lands for day-use only on March 5. Overnight camping and visitor centers remain closed.
Dingman listed guidelines to follow when recreating:
Check what’s open. While many state-managed land destinations are open for day-use, other local, tribal, and federal land may still be closed.
Opt for day trips close to home. Overnight stays are not permitted.
Stay with immediate household members only. Recreation with those outside of your household creates new avenues for virus transmission.
Come prepared. Visitors may find reduced or limited restroom services as staff begin the process to reopen facilities at wildlife areas and water access sites. You are advised to bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper, as well as a mask or bandana to cover your nose and mouth.
Enjoy the outdoors when healthy. If you have symptoms of fever, coughing, or shortness of breath, save your outdoor adventure for another day.
When you get there
Avoid crowds. Be prepared to go somewhere else or come back another time if your destination looks crowded.
Practice physical distancing. Keep 6 feet between you and those outside your immediate household. Launch one boat at a time to give others enough space to launch safely. Leave at least one parking space between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you. Trailer your boat in the same way.
Wash your hands often. Keep up on personal hygiene and bring your own water, soap, and hand sanitizer with you.
Pack out what you pack in. Take any garbage with you, including disposable gloves and masks.
More information is available at website wdfw.wa.gov.
In Oregon, many campgrounds in eastern Washington reopened on Wednesday.
If restrooms are present on these areas, they may not be maintained daily and are not supplied with hand sanitizer, so visitors are reminded to bring their own supplies.
Areas now open include:
Bridge Creek Wildlife Area, Umatilla and Morrow counties; Elkhorn Wildlife Area, Baker and Union counties; Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area, Wasco County; Lostine Wildlife Area, Wallowa County; Philip W Schneider Wildlife Area, Grant County; Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area, Crook County; Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Lake County; White River Wildlife Area, Wasco County; Wenaha Wildlife Area, Wallowa County.
Basically the same guidelines for outdoors activities in Washington are in effect for Oregon areas.
See website dfw.state.or.us for more information on Oregon’s outdoors activities.