Camping in tents can resume in a dozen state parks, forests and recreation areas as of Monday, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe announced Saturday.

The re-opening will be consistent with Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 public health protocols that stress social distancing and wearing of masks in public shared areas, McCabe said.

As of June 22, the following 12 areas will be opened to tent-style camping:
- High Point State Park
- Jenny Jump State Forest
- Stokes State Forest
- Worthington State Forest
- Allaire State Park
- Cheesequake State Park
- Spruce Run Recreation Area
- Bass River State Forest
- Belleplain State Forest
- Brendan Byrne State Forest
- Parvin State Park
- Wharton State Forest

All other forms of overnight use including cabins, shelters, group cabins, wilderness campsites, primitive campsites and group campsites will remain closed, McCabe said, due to spacing requirements and staffing necessary to clean and maintain indoor facilities.

Camping will reopen a week later, June 29, at Swartswood State Park and Stephens State Forest in North Jersey.

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At most areas at least 50% of camping sites will be open. All sites will be open at High Point and Jenny Jump.

Camping remains closed at Round Valley Recreation Area, Washington Crossing State Park, Kittatinny Valley State Park, Waywayanda State Park and Voorhees State Park.

Rigorous cleaning for restrooms, showers and other facilities and common areas will follow guidelines set by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state Department of Health. Barriers also are being installed to limit contact between staff and visitors.

Guests will be encouraged to wear a mask when in public and in indoor spaces such as gatehouses and restrooms, McCade said.

They also must maintain a six-foot distance from other individuals that are not immediate family members, caretakers, household members or partners.

According to the DEP, visitors are encouraged to make reservations, cancellations and payments via electronic or phone reservation systems to limit physical interactions by visiting the website, while paying by cash does remain an option.

The return of tent-style camping joins several other phased re-openings as of Monday, including hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and tattoo parlors.

Organized sports activities for recreational and club leagues also begins to resume Monday, and outdoor municipal or private club pool also can reopen.

 

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