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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.

How to Visit State Parks during Covid-19 Safely and Responsibly

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

Traveling to Massachusetts

Per the Baker-Polito Administration’s updated guidelines on travel and transportation, all individuals traveling into Massachusetts are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, unless traveling from any of the following states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York or New Jersey. Additionally, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are also exempt from this directive.

Parking Areas

Department of Conservation and Recreation managed coastal beach parking areas are open to the public.

Playgrounds, Spray Decks and Fitness Areas

As of Monday, June 15, 2020, Department of Conservation and Recreation playgrounds, spray decks, and fitness areas are open for the public to use.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to playgrounds, spraydecks, and fitness areas, please visit
Safety Standards for Playgrounds, Spray Decks and Outdoor Fitness Areas (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-playgrounds-spray-decks-and-outdoor-fitness-areas/download)

Swimming Pools

DCR-managed swimming pools are open for the season with reduced capacity during the 2020 summer season to aid in the prevention of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Visitors are advised to call ahead. Please visit the Massachusetts DCR Pools webpage for additional information.

Coastal and Inland Beaches

Department of Conservation and Recreation managed coastal and inland beaches are open to the public. Visitors are reminded that state park properties, including coastal beach reservations and inland parks, may have reduced parking areas. Additionally, starting on Saturday, June 20, 2020, waterfront services at designated swimming locations will be offered. Waterfront services at state beaches include regularly scheduled water quality tests, ropes and buoys in place, and the start of staffing lifeguards at many swimming locations.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to coastal and inland beaches, please visit
Safety Standards for Coastal and Inland
Beaches – Phase II  (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-coastal-and-inland-beaches-phase-ii/download)

Public Restrooms and Trash/Recycling

As of Saturday, May 23, 2020, many Department of Conservation and Recreation managed public restrooms have reopened. Additionally, the agency has reduced the amount of available trash/recycling receptacles at state park properties throughout the Commonwealth. Visitors are asked to practice DCR’s “carry in, carry out” waste policy where trash/recycling receptacles aren’t available and to do their part to help protect our shared natural resources by leaving no trace and taking any waste with them.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to public restrooms and trash/recycling, please visit
Safety Standards for Parks, Open Space, and Outdoor Education Programs – Phase II (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-parks-open-space-and-outdoor-education-programs-phase-ii/download).

 

Athletic Fields and Courts

All Department of Conservation and Recreation owned outdoor athletic fields, courts, and other playing surfaces (tennis, baseball, football, soccer, skate parks, etc.) can be utilized by the public during Phase II for general recreation. User activities should be consistent with social distancing and group size guidelines.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to athletic fields and courts, please visit
Safety Standards for Parks, Open Space, and Outdoor Education Programs – Phase II (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-parks-open-space-and-outdoor-education-programs-phase-ii/download).

Parkway Access

The Department of Conservation and Recreation has opened segments of parkways in the Greater Boston Metro Area to expand pedestrian and cyclist access. The measure, which closes the segments to vehicular traffic, will reduce close contact of park users, as well as large concentrations of people on adjacent sidewalks and paths. 

The segments include:

  • Riverbend Park (Memorial Drive) in Cambridge on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00am – 7:00pm.

Boat Ramps and Launches

Inland Boat Ramps and Canoe Launches

  • Inland boat ramps and canoe launches within state parks, forests, wildlife management areas, boating access facilities and other state-owned properties managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts remain open to all users, except where the access has already been closed due to parking restrictions or other restrictions.

Coastal Boat Ramps and Canoe Launches

  • For recreational use, coastal boat ramps managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts remain open to all users. All other coastal boat ramps currently managed by municipalities remain open to all users for recreational use subject to the discretion of the city or town.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to recreational boating, please visit
Boating & Various Other Marine and Inland Waterway Related Activities – Phase II  (https://www.mass.gov/doc/boating-various-other-marine-and-inland-waterway-related-activities-phase-ii/download).

 

Campgrounds

The Department of Conservation and Recreation has closed all campgrounds until Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Reservations will be accepted beginning on Monday, June 22, 2020. For more information regarding DCR campgrounds, please visit Camping at Massachusetts State Parks

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to campgrounds, please visit
WORKPLACE SAFETY and REOPENING STANDARDS FOR CAMPGROUNDS - Phase II  https://www.mass.gov/doc/workplace-safety-and-reopening-standards-for-campgrounds-phase-ii/download.

Golf Courses

The Leo J. Martin Golf Course and Ski Area (Weston, MA) and Ponkapoag Golf Club (Canton, MA) are open to the public. All tee times must be made in advance and over the phone.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to golf courses, please visit
Safety Standards and Checklist: Golf Facilities (https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-checklist-golf-facilities#quick-reference-documents-).

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