City, county and state parks across the Olympic Peninsula, including Miller Peninsula State Park, have been closed to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

City, county and state parks across the Olympic Peninsula, including Miller Peninsula State Park, have been closed to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

City, state parks close to help stop spread of coronavirus

From city and county parks to all state parks and state-owned land, much of Washington state’s open public land is off limits.

In response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order issued on March 24, state and local officials followed suit and announced the closures.

For Sequim residents, that means most outside recreation activity will have to stay close to home or along the Olympic Discovery Trail, which will remain open to users and non-motorized vehicles.

City of Sequim

To help minimize the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, the City of Sequim on March 24 closed the following city parks to the public to enforce Inslee’s order banning all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes:

• Carrie Blake Community Park

• Margaret Kirner Park

• Pioneer Memorial Park

• Dr. Standard Park

This includes all structures, fields, benches, picnic shelters, playground equipment and dog parks.

The city has also closed

The Olympic Discovery Trail and June Robinson Memorial Park will remain open for walking and biking the trail and for gardening respectively.

The city has also closed the fishing pond at the Class “A” Water Re-Use Demonstration Site located at Carrie Blake Community Park, following the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announcement that they have closed all recreational fishing. The WDFW placed this in effect on March 25 and it will remain in place until at least 5 p.m. on April 8.

Check openings and closure updates at wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.

For more information about city park closures, call the City of Sequim at 360-683-4908.

State parks, land

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the temporary closure of all state-managed parks, wildlife areas and water access areas for at least two weeks starting Wednesday, March 25.

The closure is in response to Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

Entrance gates and facilities will be closed, and on-site public services will be suspended. Essential staff will be present to preserve and protect resources, state officials said.

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

WDFW also announced temporary statewide closures to all recreation fishing.

On March 27, Olympic National Forest officials closed all developed recreation sites will be closed through April 8; or until Gov. Inslee’s measures are lifted.

Recreation closures include trailheads, day use areas, campsites, cabins and picnic sites. Reservations cannot be made at this time. Existing reservation holders will be notified via email and/or cell phone text messages, if there are any changes affecting their reservation. Refunds will be issued for cancelled reservations.

The latest updates and information can be found online at www.fs.usda.gov/main/olympic/home. Forest Service offices are currently providing virtual services and staff are available to answer questions by phone or email, during business hours which can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/olympic/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd716032&width=full.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park, in response to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” proclamation, announced on March 24 additional modifications to operations to support federal, state and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Olympic National Park will offer no services outside those that support visitor or resource protection. At Olympic National Park, the following services and operations will be suspended through at least April 6 in order to comply with the state order:

• Most park roads are closed at the park boundary.

These temporary closures include Staircase Road; Hurricane Ridge Road; Ozette Road; Mora Road; Upper Hoh Road; Lower and Upper Queets roads; and North Fork and Graves Creek roads in the Quinault Valley. The Olympic Hot Springs Road and Whiskey Bend Road in the Elwha Valley are closed to vehicles at the Madison Falls parking area due to the washout of Olympic Hot Springs Road. Sol Duc, Deer Park, Obstruction Point, and Hurricane Hill roads have not opened for the season and remain closed at this time.

• All overnight camping, including in wilderness, is currently suspended.

All drive-in park campgrounds are closed including: Staircase, Heart O’ the Hills, Ozette, Mora, Hoh, Kalaloch, Queets, North Fork, and Graves Creek. Deer Park, Fairholme, Sol Duc, and South Beach have not opened for the season and remain closed at this time. With this closure, it is important to remember that no other areas in the park are authorized for camping.

To make changes to or cancel existing wilderness permit reservations affected by this closure, contact the Wilderness Information Center at 360-565-3100 (Option 4) or email Olym_WIC@nps.gov.

All public facilities including visitor centers, contact stations and restrooms are closed.

Kalaloch Lodge, Creekside Restaurant and The Mercantile closed March 23. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, Campground and RV Park have delayed opening until April 24 at the earliest. Winter operations at Hurricane Ridge ended March 17.

Visitor and resource protection, law enforcement, public health services, and critical infrastructure operations will continue. Olympic National Park relies heavily on volunteer search and rescue organizations to assist in an emergency. During this pandemic, resources and personal protective equipment are limited.

Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the digital tools already available to explore Olympic National Park.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus; check nps.gov/olym for specific details about park operations.

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