Massachusetts State Parks COVID - 19 Update

In an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Baker-Polito Administration is urging the public to stay home as much as possible to avoid person-to-person contact. However, should individuals and their families need to get outside for healthy, outdoor recreational activities, including walking, hiking, jogging, and bike riding, Massachusetts state parks and other natural resources managed by DCR remain open and accessible to the public.

Additionally, state parks are public areas, and while the agency continues to make efforts to sanitize high-touch locations, these surfaces are only as clean as the last person who has come in contact with it. Please take appropriate steps to protect your health and the health of others by following the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Visitors to state parks should follow these additional guidelines:

  • Minimize outdoor recreational time to limit potential exposure to COVID-19;
  • Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people;
  • Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals;
  • Administer healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds;
  • Participate in only non-contact recreational activities;
  • Leave a park or area should large gatherings begin to build; and,
  • Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population. 

The agency appreciates your support and understanding as we all continue to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Below are specific details regarding the closure of agency managed facilities and other information:

Table of Contents

State Coastal Beach Parking Areas

As of Friday, April 3, 2020, state coastal beach parking areas  have temporarily closed. State managed beaches remain open for passive recreational activities that only involve transitory movement (walking, jogging, running, etc.) and for solitary beach fishing. Sitting, sunbathing, and other stationary recreational activities are prohibited on state beaches. Additionally, athletic and recreational activities that bring participants into close, physical contact are prohibited.

Playgrounds, Fitness Areas, and Bathroom Facilities:

As of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, agency managed playgrounds, fitness areas, and bathroom facilities throughout the state parks system have temporarily closed until Monday, May 4, 2020, at which time the closure of these facilities will be reassessed.

Athletic Fields and Courts

As of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, agency managed athletic fields and courts throughout the state parks system have temporarily closed until Monday, May 4, 2020, at which time the closure of these facilities will be reassessed.

Trash Removal

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the agency is not providing trash receptacles throughout the state parks system. Visitors are asked to practice the agency’s “carry in, carry out” policy during this public health emergency and to do their part to help protect our shared natural resources by leaving no trace and taking any trash with them.

Visitor Centers and Campgrounds

As of Saturday, March 14, 2020, agency managed visitor centers and campgrounds  throughout the state parks system have temporarily closed until Monday, May 4, 2020, at which time the closure of these facilities will be reassessed.

Additionally, the department is not taking any camping reservations until campgrounds have reopened .In addition to the closure of campgrounds, Appalachian Trail shelters, campsites, and privies within the Massachusetts state parks system are also temporarily closed due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Furthermore, camping is always prohibited outside of these areas along the 90-miles of the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts.

 

Parking Fees

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure optimal access to the state’s outdoor natural resources remain available, all parking fees at state parks across the Commonwealth have been waived.

Golf Courses

Agency managed golf courses (Ponkapoag Golf Course in the Town of Canton and the Leo J. Martin Golf Course in the Town of Weston) have not yet opened for the season. All golf related activities are prohibited.

Ice Rinks

As of Saturday, March 14, 2020, all agency owned ice rinks throughout the Commonwealth have closed to the public. DCR managed ice rinks have permanently closed for the season (these rinks were previously scheduled to closed on Sunday, March 22, 2020). Agency rinks operated by third parties are closed until Monday, May 4, 2020, at which time the closure of ice rinks will be reassessed. Additionally, during the temporary closure all associated events at these locations are cancelled.

Lifeguard Recruitment

During this public health emergency, the department has postponed several upcoming lifeguard qualification and recertification tests. Please continue to visit the agency’s DCR Lifeguarding webpage for the most up-to-date test schedule information.

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