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Posted Monday, March 16th, 2020

Passive Recreation Available but Campgrounds, Recreation Centers, and Restrooms are Closed

The state Department of Environmental Protection has announced that residents may still access all state parks, forests, recreation areas and wildlife management areas, including roads, parking areas, trails, lakes and other open space areas for healthful passive recreation.

photo shows stream rushing through Hacklebarney State Park

Hacklebarney State Park in Morris County

However, campgrounds, visitor centers, nature centers, restrooms and similar facilities at state parks, forests, recreation areas, plus historic sites are closed until further notice in order to protect public health and safety to address COVID-19.

Given the lack of services for the public, entry fees normally collected by state parks will be waived. Additionally, permits typically required, including but not limited to mobile sport fishing permits, are still necessary.

This approach will allow important access to outdoor activities such as walking to continue while limiting potential exposure and spread of the virus.

“Keeping state-owned open spaces available to the public is important so people can continue to enjoy the healthful benefits of recreation and being outdoors,” said State DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “We advise the public to practice social distancing while enjoying our open spaces.”

Staff and Law Enforcement Personnel will continue to conduct routine patrols of open spaces to ensure public safety and general wellbeing of the visiting public.

In addition, the DEP is postponing all upcoming events, programming and camping reservations in State Parks and Wildlife Management Areas through April 30. Refunds will be issued, and events rescheduled at the appropriate time.