Bedford County’s state parks and forests will be open for the Memorial Day weekend, although some of the traditional holiday activities will not be permitted because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic and continuing efforts to prevent its spread.
Restrooms and trails will be open at Shawnee, Blue Knob and Warriors Path state parks and the restrooms also will be open at the Sweet Root Picnic Area of Buchanan State Forest.
Picnicking will be another matter, however, as pavilions will be closed at all three state parks and both the Sweet Root and Blankley picnic areas of the state forest.
At Blue Knob, the swimming pool, amphitheater and group cabins are closed. The park will open Friday for tent and RV camping, but the modern cabins and Twin Fawn House will not open until June 12.
At Shawnee, the swimming beach will be closed. Boating, boat mooring and boat launches are open. The campground will open Friday for tent and RV camping, but cottages, yurts and the Lakeside Lodge do not open until June 12, and the group tenting area remains closed.
At Warriors Path, the picnic groves and pavilions are closed, but boating and boat launching are open. The group tenting area is closed.
The Buchanan State Forest picnic areas will open May 15, as will the motorized campsites.
Statewide, all DCNR lands including trails, lakes, rivers, streams, forests, roads, and parking areas are accessible statewide for recreation; however, the availability of facilities such as bathrooms, offices, and campgrounds varies.
All swimming beaches and pools will be closed until at least Friday, June 5.
All picnic pavilions, playgrounds, nature play areas, visitor center exhibit halls, amphitheaters, and group camping facilities statewide will remain closed indefinitely.
All programs, events, and large gatherings at state parks and forests in counties that are designated red are cancelled through June 15.
Based on availability, organizers will have the option to reschedule later in the year. No new reservations for these activities are being taken.
In counties designated yellow, any events with more than 25 people will be canceled. If the event is under 25 people and outdoors it will be allowed to occur, however any indoor events will be canceled.
Campsites and cabins should only be used by members living in the same household as part of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also offers these COVID safety tips:
To help avoid exposure to COVID-19 and protect others, and still enjoy the outdoors:
•Don’t hike or recreate in groups – go with those under the same roof, and adhere to social distancing (stay 6 feet apart).
•Wear a mask.
•Take hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.
•Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose.
•Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow.
•If you are sick, stay home.