Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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drm
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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by drm » May 6th, 2020, 7:12 am

Yes, a few areas are opening, though I don't see the logic in the choices. Cottonwood SP is not opening this week. It is neither crowded nor hard to avoid distancing. It's easy to see people approaching, and the trails are mostly dirt roads, so plenty of space to pass by. But it is not on the list to reopen this week. Same thing pretty much for Columbia Hills SP across the river.

As with all things, there is a balance to be found. Opening to soon, or going out and breaking the rules, will cause problems. But going to slow also gets you in a situation where the rules get flouted en masse and are unenforceable. I can acknowledge that finding that balance is not easy - decision-makers are pulled in all directions and lack a lot of information that would be very helpful.

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teachpdx
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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by teachpdx » May 7th, 2020, 6:44 am

It really all depends on the area.
Speaking of trailheads, head south to the Willamette NF and they have only closed 'trailheads with restrooms', so any more primitive trailheads are still legal to use. Mt. Hood NF seems to have closed all trailheads, but that doesn't stop you from parking 1/4 mile down the road and still using the trailhead. Dispersed camping is still allowed in the Mt. Hood NF but up in the Gifford Pinchot they have closed down some major forest roads to prevent dispersed camping. So it's really all over the map. You just need to research your destination and have some backups.

But it's generally better to just stay home.

I'm really itching to get out there and put in some miles, because I won't be ready for my 100-miler in Yellowstone later this summer unless I get going pretty soon. I've stayed pretty close to home so far, but I may have to open up my index of unpopular trails, avoid the crowds, and go spend a night or two up in the woods. Anything I do at this point will be low-risk, both in terms of catching or passing Covid, as well as potential first responder use. And that's more the spirit of the law than anything, I think.
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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by justpeachy » May 7th, 2020, 6:53 am

teachpdx wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 6:44 am
I'm really itching to get out there and put in some miles, because I won't be ready for my 100-miler in Yellowstone later this summer unless I get going pretty soon.
Glacier NP has canceled backcountry reservations and I wouldn't be surprised if other parks do the same.

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teachpdx
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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by teachpdx » May 7th, 2020, 7:47 am

justpeachy wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 6:53 am
Glacier NP has canceled backcountry reservations and I wouldn't be surprised if other parks do the same.
Yellowstone is still honoring backcountry reservations and just canceling a week at a time as this goes on. It seems that there is a huge push to open Yellowstone up, and at this point starting mid-June they may only let people with overnight reservations (including backcountry) into the park. And my reservations are not until mid-September, so hopefully things have calmed down or leveled off by then.
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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by leiavoia » May 7th, 2020, 7:50 am

justpeachy wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 6:53 am
teachpdx wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 6:44 am
I'm really itching to get out there and put in some miles, because I won't be ready for my 100-miler in Yellowstone later this summer unless I get going pretty soon.
Glacier NP has canceled backcountry reservations and I wouldn't be surprised if other parks do the same.
I had an application in for the wonderland trail which just got rejected, but did not mention pandemic or closures.

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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by drm » May 7th, 2020, 9:38 am

I haven't seen anything on the Mt Ranier NP website to indicate that they are not still processing requests for the summer season. There is no message similar to Glacier's which says for now the summer reservation system is canceled. And Rainier's backcountry is open (mostly to ski and snowshoe) to dispersed activity - if you can get there. All roads and entrances are closed.

The snotel at Paradise indicates above average snowpack, so the hiking season for the Wonderland is almost 3 months away still for most people. There has been some debate as to whether travel issues will limit visit from far away, making same day Wonderland permits feasible. Who can say?

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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by burnside » May 11th, 2020, 1:16 pm

Everything seems so backward.

It's crazy that on Washougal River road this weekend cars were crammed next to each other to get access to the river. It was at least as crowded as what you would see on a busy weekend at Beacon Rock.

At most of the stores I went to maybe 20% of customers had masks on, some stores had workers with no masks, and safe distance rules at some stores were only enforced when you were checking out - at other stores customers were lined up behind each other like old times.

Yet at the trails I regularly hike during the season I usually see no more than 5-10 people on a 20 mile hike but parking at these trailheads is prohibited? The parking lot at Target this past weekend was 90% capacity! smh

OK, rant over. As the OP asked, I guess it would be fine if I biked to a trailhead and started hiking? I'd like to hike from the Herman Creek trailhead for starters.

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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by Bosterson » May 11th, 2020, 1:30 pm

burnside wrote:
May 11th, 2020, 1:16 pm
As the OP asked, I guess it would be fine if I biked to a trailhead and started hiking? I'd like to hike from the Herman Creek trailhead for starters.
While some wildernesses are open (even if the trailhead parking is closed), my understanding is that the whole Gorge scenic area is closed to all use, even dispersed use. I would assume the frontage road under the Herman TH is open since people live out that way, but you're not allowed to even walk in and use Gorge trails. There are plenty of other places that are still open - for instance, all state forest lands. Washington just opened up DNR land last week as well.
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drm
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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by drm » May 11th, 2020, 1:37 pm

burnside wrote:
May 11th, 2020, 1:16 pm
Yet at the trails I regularly hike during the season I usually see no more than 5-10 people on a 20 mile hike but parking at these trailheads is prohibited? The parking lot at Target this past weekend was 90% capacity! smh
Most of the more remote closures were supported not by your likelihood of spreading the disease, but because some of us get hurt and take up space in hospitals and time for EMT and SAR teams that they want to reserve for other things now. This crisis was avoided so I think we will see backcountry opening up soon. But probably not campgrounds or the most popular trails.

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Re: Confused - What is Open or Allowed during Covid Quarantine?

Post by retired jerry » May 11th, 2020, 2:05 pm

I can see why a trailhead with a restroom could be closed, people go into the restroom and then someone else will go into the same restroom and get infected

I saw a trailhead with a restroom. They closed the trailhead. They left the restroom unlocked. Someone ignored the closed signs and parked anyway.

Whatever... maybe they're reducing transmission over-all, it's hard to know which actions are effective, I support them

Definitely avoid those situations like the coast or gorge where people congregated. That could cause infections.

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