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News >  Washington

Many Washington parks to re-open, but not beaches, gorge

A line of customers snaking around the block waits to enter the West Seattle Farmers Market during its first opening in nearly two months because of the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, May 3, 2020, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
A line of customers snaking around the block waits to enter the West Seattle Farmers Market during its first opening in nearly two months because of the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, May 3, 2020, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Associated Press

More than 100 state parks, trails and boating sites across Washington state will re-open Tuesday as some coronavirus restrictions are eased, but many popular sites remain closed indefinitely, according to officials.

Parks that open will be limited to daytime use only and the number of parking spaces will be reduced at some urban parks to discourage crowding. Public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife also will reopen Tuesday.

All ocean beach parks and parks along the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington-Oregon border will remain closed to reduce impacts on rural communities and prevent crowds, according to Washington State Parks.

Discussions on when those sites could open are ongoing and involve park administrators, local community leaders and Oregon officials, state parks officials said.

The parks have been closed more than a month and are being re-opened under the first phase of the Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to ease rules imposed to prevent the spread of the virus. Beaches and campgrounds would re-open under the second phase of the plan, although large gatherings would still be banned.

State officials plan to wait at least three weeks between each phase to see how the changes affect infection rates.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission posted a list of which parks will be open and which remain closed on its website.

Some farmers’ markets are already open, including one in West Seattle where on Sunday people bought things like asparagus, radishes and onions. Chalk arrows pointed to the market entrance, including the words “Yes farms, yes food,” with smiley faces every 6 feet to designate the distance to wait between customers.

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