Dep Commissioner McCabe reminds public on rules for visiting state parks and forests during COVID-19 outbreak
(20/P22) TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe today strongly reminded visitors to state parks and forests of the urgent need to follow social distancing measures to protect themselves and fellow visitors from COVID-19.
“We experienced extremely high usage across the New Jersey State Park System over the past weekend,” Commissioner McCabe said. “While most park users tried to follow social distancing requirements, and many wore face coverings, we strongly urge all visitors to redouble their efforts to keep 6 feet apart and to wear face coverings when around other visitors. This is critical to the success of the State’s continuing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please cooperate with park police and staff to help keep us all safe, and to ensure that we all can continue to enjoy New Jersey’s beautiful outdoor spaces at a time when we need them most.”
Visitors to New Jersey’s State Parks and Forests are reminded to:
- Wear face coverings when near others to help protect yourselves and fellow park visitors.
- Stay at least six feet away from each other.
- Visit parks alone or with immediate family only. No group gatherings.
- Visit the park nearest to your home.
- Do not picnic, set up chairs, blankets or coolers, or go swimming.
- Park only in designated areas.
- Restrooms and other facilities remain closed, so be sure to “go before you go” and limit your time in the park.
A new video on the New Jersey State Parks and Forests Facebook page also illustrates these recommendations: https://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyStateParks/videos/1135307950135466/.
Social distancing requirements are being strictly enforced. Parking at state parks is limited to 50 percent capacity and visitors will be turned away from parks that have reached that capacity. Last weekend, a number of parks saw very high usage over the weekend, resulting in the 50-percent parking lot capacity being reached. Consequently, the Park Service is requesting people to keep their visits short, to allow others an opportunity to enjoy being outside.
Parks that had large crowds last weekend included Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest, Double Trouble State Park, Hacklebarney State Park, Norvin Green State Forest, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Round Valley Recreation Area, the Skylands section of Ringwood State Park, and Waywayanda State Park. In addition, Corson’s Inlet State Park was closed due to excessive usage and lack of adherence to social distancing.
The Park Service recognizes that many people are first-time or infrequent visitors to state parks. Alerts are posted in real time on the Park Service Facebook page. The Park Service recommends that the public follow updates on Facebook to decide when to visit the park nearest them.
Visitors can also sign up for email alerts through the Park Service website at https://njparksandforests.org/.
To find the state park or forest nearest you, visit www.spstrailtracker.nj.gov