Responsible Spring recreation while following ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ directive

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Today we are in the ABC4 backyard with Eugene Swalberg, spokesperson for the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation to discuss how to be responsible outdoors and committed to following the Governor’s directive during this traditional time of year that starts a lot of Spring recreation.

Easter weekend is traditionally the springboard into the outdoor recreation season, especially in Southern Utah. However, this year, under the guidance and direction of the COVID-19 Task Force and Governor Herbert’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive, individuals and families are asked to stay home as much as possible, and recreation close to home. Per Governor Herbert’s directive, state parks remain open only to visitors residing in the same county where the state park is located.

While families may be looking to escape cabin fever, or relieve some of the stress and anxiety associated with current circumstances, anyone recreating outdoors should be responsible, and follow the governor’s directive and social distancing guidelines. Those visiting state parks should understand what to expect when they arrive, and steps they should take to practice responsible recreation.

What to expect at Utah State Parks:

The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation takes the health and safety of our visitors and employees seriously and as such we take the Governor’s Stay Safe, Stay Home directive seriously and are working to ensure that only local county residents visit our parks, museums and golf courses.

The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation takes the health and safety of our visitors and employees seriously and as such we take the Governor’s Stay Safe, Stay Home directive seriously and are working to ensure that only local county residents visit our parks, museums and golf courses.

All areas managed by the Division remain open only to visitors who reside in the same county as the state park, museum, or recreation area. We expect visitors to follow the Governor’s Directive. Parks staff are working hard to ensure park visitors are aware of the directive and following its guidelines.

State park rangers and gate staff will be verifying the residency of park visitors. Out-of-county residents will be turned away.

We are partnering with our sister agency, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, to increase staffing and enforcement presence at our busier parks.

Parks have posted notices on their individual websites, social media accounts, and at park entrances. Portable variable message signs at the entrances of some highly-visited state parks. Staff are patrolling high traffic areas to encourage responsible recreation and social distancing practices.

LAUNCHED THIS WEEK: We are instituting a new pre-pay option for all of our state parks. Visit our website and each individual park page has a hot link where visitors (who live in the county where the state park is located) can pay for a same day visit or visits in the future.

What does Responsible Recreation look like:

We encourage everyone visiting state parks practice Responsible Recreation. This means: separating yourself and honoring the social distance of others, avoiding crowded trail heads and areas; and keeping parks and facilities clean.

Follow the Governor’s directive and recreate close-to-home. If you’re visiting a state park, only visit a state park within the county you reside.

  • Avoid congregating at trail heads.
  • Stay away from parks and recreation areas when you’re sick or have symptoms.
  • Practice “pack it in and pack it out” etiquette and respect facility closures.
  • Check stateparks.utah.gov to learn the status of your local park before getting on the road.
  • Those recreating in areas managed by federal land managing agencies (BLM, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service) should consider the open status of the park or recreation area, and should also practice Responsible Recreation and social distancing guidelines. A recreation page has been set up at coronavirus.utah.gov/recreation to help visitors connect with the appropriate land managing agencies.

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