Vermont State Parks COVID-19 Updates






We will be posting any updates to Vermont State Parks in relation to COVID-19 on this page.

Vermont State Park Status Updates as of 7/02/20:

A Plan for Operating Vermont State Parks in 2020

ALL PARKS OPEN JUNE 26


OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

  1. Out of state visitor arriving in Vermont must meet these conditions:
  2. Visitor has traveled from a region with a low number of active cases per population (click here to see map with active case counts per county) There is no quarantine required in this situation.(link is external)
  3.  -- OR --

    Has completed a 14-day quarantine in their home state and traveled directly to Vermont in a personal vehicle without making any stops.
  4. -- OR --
  5. Has completed a 7-day quarantine in their home state.
      -- AND --
    Has had a negative test following the 7-day quarantine 
And you must also meet both of these conditions:
  1. Not had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days AND
  2. Not had COVID-19-like symptoms in the past 24 hours.
All visitors will need to self-certify that you have met the requirements and are asked to PRINT AND FILL OUT THIS FORM, ONE FOR EVERY FAMILY MEMBER AND BRING IT WITH THEM TO THE PARK.

All visitors arriving from out of state must also sign up for a SARA alert, which will remind visitors to check for signs of COVID-19. 

Background

It is clear that Vermonters’ interest in and appreciation for outdoor recreation opportunities in recent weeks has been unprecedented. And an important part of summer in Vermont for many is time spent in Vermont’s state parks. And although the traditional schedule of scheduled openings has been somewhat delayed this year, we are currently in the throes of readying our parks for expanded summer use – including making necessary health and hygiene improvements to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus.

In order for state parks to welcome people and staff safely into areas and facilities during the summer season of 2020, certain assumptions about the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic must be made. Granted, no one can predict the Vermont-specific status of the coronavirus in the months of June, July, August and September with any degree of certainty, but defining a set of assumptions regarding is necessary so that prospective visitors can be notified, protocols can be created, training can be prepared, and financial analysis can be conducted. The plan outlined below relies on the following assumptions:

·        The health metrics established by the Vermont Department of Health around the number of new cases and positive COVID-19 tests remain below the established thresholds.

·        Governor Scott’s Be Smart/Stay Safe order will remain in place, and the fourteen-day quarantine requirement for out of state visitors will remain in place.

·        Social distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible, wearing masks when in public, and strict personal hygiene protocols will still be in place. Also remaining will be the need to be vigilant in disinfecting common public “touch points.”

State park services and operations

To be able to operate state parks in a manner that intentionally seeks to minimize the potential for spread of COVID-19, things at Vermont’s state parks will look a little different this year. Focus will be on maintaining physical distance between unrelated park visitors, and between staff and visitors, and to manage, reduce or eliminate common touch points. It is critical that park visitors become partners in this endeavor by also committing to minimizing the risk to each other and our staff by strict adherence to behavior guidelines. If either partner fails to contribute adequately to this outcome, we may have no alternative but to close the facilities to public use.

Steps all visitors will be asked to take include:

·        Postponing a visit and not entering the park if you are or have recently been ill, tested positive or been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

·        Maintaining at least 6 feet physical distance between from anyone you did not travel to the park with.

·        Wearing a cloth mask whenever you might encounter other visitors or staff, or generally anytime you are not swimming, exercising or at your campsite.

·        Bringing a supply of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, and making good use of them throughout your visit.

·        While state park will continue to provide innumerable opportunities for swimming, picnicking, fishing, hiking and camping – any services or transactions that result in touch points and/or staff personal interaction but are not absolutely necessary will be eliminated for this operating season. This includes services such as loaning of play equipment, camping and fishing gear, and sales of merchandise and ice (where there are other local options), boat and bicycle rentals, and concession stands. All playground apparatus will be open. Promotional programs that rely on paper coupons will be reduced or eliminated. Distribution of paper maps, guides and interpretive information will be minimized. Cash will only be accepted if there is no alternative.

Day use

·        Park capacity for day use activity will be managed to ensure room for sufficient physical space is available for social distancing. This will be done on a park-by-park basis, generally by reducing the number of parking spots available. For example, the intensively used day use areas may require restricting the number of visitors at a point in time but lesser used areas may not.

·        Bathrooms will have soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers installed. Bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected once per day. High touch points will be disinfected regularly throughout the day according to protocols consistent with CDC guidelines. We will establish an acceptable number of people to be in the bathroom at one time to allow enough space in the building. Signs will be posted indicating the maximum occupancy and ask the visiting public to adhere to the limitation. Doors will be propped open where feasible, trash receptacle covers will be removed, and other unnecessary touch point eliminated wherever possible.

·        Picnic grill handles and water spigot handles will be disinfected once per day. Visitors will be encouraged to bring water bottles as water fountains will be disconnected.

·        Picnic tables, movable benches, and chairs will be removed from day use areas except those needed to provide for people with physical disabilities. Visitors will be encouraged to bring picnic blankets or folding chairs.

·        Group gatherings and use of picnic shelters will be allowed only if consistent with the restrictions in place at the time. As of May 29, gatherings need to be limited to 25 or fewer.

·        The swimming pool at Button Bay State Park will not be operated.

Camping

·        State Park campgrounds will be limited to tent, RV and lean-to camping. Camping in cabins and cottages will not be available.

·        Out-of-state camping will be limited to those camping parties that have met all current out-of-state travel restrictions according to CDC and VDH guidelines in Vermont prior to entering the park.

·        Face-to-face front line interpretive programming will be suspended for the season.

·        Group camping will be allowed only if consistent with the restrictions in place at the time. As of May 29, gatherings need to be limited to 25 or fewer.

·        Tables, and lean-to handrails and other obvious touch points will be cleaned, and grill handles disinfected between visitors and water spigots will be disinfected once per day. Campers will be strongly advised to assume responsibility for protecting themselves from transmission via touch points, including packing and making regular use of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.

·        Bathrooms will have soap and paper towel dispensers installed. Bathrooms and showers will be cleaned and disinfected consistent with CDC guidelines at least twice per day. Signs will be posted to indicate the occupancy capacity of each building to allow appropriate distancing and visitors will be asked to self-enforce the limitation. Doors will be propped open; trash receptacle covers will be removed and other unnecessary touch points limited wherever possible.

·        Contact station operations (at campgrounds and day use areas) will be guided by protocols that assure safety of staff and the public. In addition to regular cleaning and disinfecting, the number of staff permitted in the building will be limited so as to allow for appropriate distancing. The public will be asked to maintain distance except when necessary for transactions. A protective shield will be installed where possible. Visitors will be asked to limit trips to the office by combining transactions as much as possible. Appropriate PPE will be worn at all times by staff and hand sanitizing will be required between transactions. Sale of ice will be limited to only those parks without local alternatives. These parks are: Brighton, Maidstone, Woodford, and Burton Island. Sale of firewood will continue at all campgrounds.

For more information please visit the Vermont Department of Health's COVID-19 pages:  https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19 

While Vermont State Parks are free and open for day visits (excluding Seyon Lodge), currently facilities such as restrooms are closed as part of our regular seasonal schedule. Keep in mind this means surfaces are not being cleaned or sanitized. Check out our Off-season Access and Parking. There is currently no camping in Vermont State Parks per the "Stay Home, Stay Safe Order." 

For more details on outdoor recreation and other park updates, please continue reading below.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
May 18 - While we are planning to open and operate parks this summer, we will not be able to offer camping at least through June 25, 2020 and will be cancelling all reservations prior to that date. Refunds will be issued automatically in the form of gift certificates. If you would like additional information, please call our reservation call center at 1-888-409-7579 Monday - Friday 9am - 4pm.

Also, please note that residents and non-residents coming to Vermont will need to quarantine at home (somewhere in Vermont) for 14 days prior to visiting a Vermont State Park. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
May 6 - Per Governor's "Play Smart and Play Safe" Executive Order, (Stay Home/Stay Safe), was amended to allow Vermonters to leave home to get fresh air and exercise and resume limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings, provided that physical distancing and protocols for hygiene consistent with guidance from VDH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are observed. 

Vermonters should continue to focus on local outdoor recreation opportunities and are encouraged to pursue day trips close to home, but are no longer being asked to limit outings to within 10 miles of their homes.

Out-of-state visitors are still being asked not to come to Vermont for recreational activities, or if they do, to self-quarantine for at least 14 days after arriving in Vermont before engaging in any activities.
Although currently open for general visitation, it is not yet appropriate or safe to open State Parks for staffed operations. We are working with Vermont Department of Health guidance and strive to be fully operational later this spring or early summer.

Some modifications to programs and services may be expected to ensure the safety and health of park visitors and staff. Vermont State Parks are hoping to have more information in the coming days about plans for the 2020 operating season.Thank you for your patience!

For further guidance on outdoor recreation and COVID-19, visit: https://bit.ly/VTOutdoorRecCOVID

For more info on COVID-19 and related guidelines, visit:
https://bit.ly/VDHCOVID19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
May 4 - Per CDC guidelines, playgrounds are closed in Vermont State Parks as these structures are high-touch surfaces. Snow fencing and signage indicating playgrounds are closed are being placed at parks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 20 - Seyon Lodge State Park is currently closed to overnight lodging and fly fishing on Noyes Pond due to COVID-19.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 15 - Based on Governor Scott’s Stay Home/Stay Safe Executive Order, staff will not be able to get out into the parks to turn on water systems and prepare park facilities for opening according to anything close to our normal schedule. The timing of full operation of the parks remains uncertain. Regardless, there is no possibility we will be able to offer camping at least through Memorial Day weekend. We will be working hard to resume operations as soon after that as possible. We just can’t control the timing at this point. Therefore, we are proactively cancelling all camping reservations through Memorial Day Weekend.

We will be cancelling all reservations and converting refunds to gift certificates that you can use for any future camping reservations or other park-related purchases. If possible, we encourage you to accept your refund as a gift certificate because we would like to see you come back soon! That said, if you need a check or credit card refund, please call our reservation call center at 1-888-409-7579 Monday – Friday 9 AM – 4 PM.
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 10 - In accordance with the Governor Scott’s Addendum to Executive Order 01-20 on the COVID-19 outbreak, Vermont State Parks will only be accepting new reservations for June 15th, 2020 or later. You may also get information, change reservations, and cancel reservations by calling our reservation call center at 1-888-409-7579 Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 3 -  The Vermont Trails and Greenways Council, members of the Vermont Trails Alliance, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation issued a joint statement on trail use including the closure of several trail systems throughout VermontCheck out the full text here. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 2 - Dept of Forests, Parks and Recreation recommendations for Outdoor Recreation and COVID-19 have been updated. Here are tips to recreate locally and stay safe outdoors during this public health emergency:

Recreate locally: Try to find close-to-home recreation that doesn’t require driving far. If you do need to drive, don’t carpool with non-household members. 

Don't walk on muddy trails: some trails may be closed as is common this time of year. Mud season closures will be updated regularly on 
Trailfinder.info. For general guidance, see our mud season hiking guide

Access State Lands: Currently, state lands (State Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas) remain open and accessible to the public for outdoor recreation, although most facilities like restrooms are currently closed and not being sanitized. Some roads and trails are gated this time of year and closed to all but foot traffic.  The Long Trail System on state lands is currently closed. Visit 
Green Mountain Club for more information and updates.  Please check Trailfinder.info often for updates. 

Minimize risk to others: Go out only if you’re feeling healthy, have not been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and/or have not recently traveled from a location with a CDC-issued travel advisory. 


Engage in low-risk activities: Now is not the time to try something extreme and end up in the hospital, taxing an already overburdened health care system.


Don’t crowd: Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting, including the outdoors. This includes finding an alternative place to recreate if the area you choose is already crowded.


Practice good hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If those aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.


Please leash your dog! They are members of your household and need to keep their social distance as well (most standard leashes are 6 feet in length).


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
March 30 - In accordance with the Governor Scott’s Addendum to Executive Order 01-20 on the COVID-19 outbreak, Vermont State Parks will not be accepting new reservations until further notice. 

You still may get information, change reservations and cancel reservations by calling our reservation call center at 1-888-409-7579 Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

At this time, Vermont State Parks are still in the “off-season”, with no running water, restrooms or staff available but are still open for your health and recreational enjoyment. We do expect parks to be operational this upcoming season, but we are anticipating some possible changes to park services. 

The Governor will be reassessing the pause on advance reservations in a couple of weeks, and we will keep you informed of further changes. Please visit our COVID-19 updates page for the most recent information and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for information and inspiration. 

View Governor Scott’s full Executive Order Declaration of State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19 and National Guard Call Out (EO 01-20) regarding COVID-19: https://governor.vermont.gov/content/declaration-state-emergency-response-covid-19-and-national-guard-call-out-eo-01-20

View Information on Recreating in the Outdoors Responsibly during the COVID-19 outbreak: http://vtstateparks.blogspot.com/2020/03/outdoor-recreation-in-vermont-healthy.html

View Vermont Department of Health’s COVID-19 pages: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
March 25 - Off season camping in Vermont State Parks has been suspended by the Governor’s Executive Order that went into effect on March 25, 2020 at 5 pm to “Stay Home, Stay Safe.”  Thank you for your understanding.  State parks are open for day visits; please take note:
  • Recreate only if you feel well & have not been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid contact with common shared surfaces such as playgrounds & picnic tables as surfaces are not being cleaned or sanitized.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
March 23 - While Vermont State Parks are free and open for day visits, currently facilities such as restrooms are closed as part of our regular seasonal schedule. Keep in mind this means surfaces are not being cleaned or sanitized. Check out our Off-season Access and Parking.

 During the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors close to home and connecting with nature is a way to help maintain our mental and physical health.  Engaging in our favorite recreation activity –hiking, camping, fishing, biking, hunting or whatever – does wonders for our health and well-being. However, we have to be smart about getting outside in this public health emergency.

As more parts of Vermont see closures and recommendations for social distancing, we all need to find ways to manage the stress and uncertainty. While working from home and with children out of school, unable to go about our normal routines or see our aging relatives, a daily walk, run or hike can be important to your physical and mental health. Just practice social distancing while doing your favorite activity.

No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, we urge you to practice effective “social distancing” and other measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep you, your family and your community safe:
  • Go out only if you’re feeling healthy.
  • Don’t carpool with non-household members.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting, including the outdoors.
  • Engage in low-risk activities; now is not the time to try something extreme and end up in the hospital, taxing an already taxed health care system.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If those aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.
  • Please leash your dog! They are members of your household and need to keep their social distance as well (and most standard leashes are 6 feet in length).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
March 18 -  At this time, all Vermont State Parks are planning to become fully operational according to schedule and we are currently not planning any park closures. Even though Governor Phil Scott has declared a state of emergency, it is due to expire on April 15. So, unless something else happens, it should not affect our prime season park operations. We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated.

Right now, all state parks are free and open for your use and we invite you to visit a Vermont State Park near you to take advantage of the rejuvenating and healing effects of spending time in nature.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Vermont, visit the following:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Join Vermont State Parks for First Day Hikes

Nature Journaling