CORONAVIRUS

Governor Lifts Restrictions At State Parks; Some Still Limited To ‘County-Only’ Visitors

Apr 17, 2020, 7:30 PM | Updated: Apr 20, 2020, 5:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Governor Gary Herbert announced state parks are open to all Utahns with some limitations due to local health order restrictions.

Officials said Utahns who visit the parks should practice responsible recreation by maintaining a six-foot distance from others, staying away from the parks if they’re sick or showing any COVID-19 symptoms and helping keep parks clean.

Visitors should also avoid congregating at trailheads, overlooks or other areas.

Officials with Utah State Parks said county-only visitor restrictions still apply to parks in the following counties, which have restrictions in place due to local health orders:

  • Carbon
  • Emery
  • Grand
  • Summit
  • Wasatch

“Currently, in much of eastern Utah and other areas, outdoor recreation is restricted to the county in which you reside by local public health orders,” officials said. “If you live outside these counties, do not travel to visit state parks located inside them.”


See a full list of which parks are open to all visitors or county residents-only here


With everything going on these days, Utahn Kelly Ryan just needed to get away for a bit.

Camping has always been her escape.

“Oh my gosh, it’s like a mental recharge,” she said from outside her tent at Great Salt Lake State Park. “This has been a hobby of mine for a long time.”

However, since Ryan lives in Salt Lake City, she could only visit state parks in Salt Lake County.

That’s why she chose Great Salt Lake State Park instead of going somewhere else.

That county state parks restriction was part of the governor’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive for the past few weeks.

That directive said state parks could stay open, but only to residents in the county where each park is located.

“It was really hard because I had reservations at other state parks and they just started getting canceled and canceled and canceled,” said Ryan. “So my friend suggested I come here.”

However, Herbert announced Utah’s state parks were open for all Utahns, with some exceptions.

“We’re going to lift those restrictions today and allow people to go to any of our 43 state parks at their leisure,” he said.

That was great news for state park workers.

It was tough asking visitors to turn around if they weren’t from that county where the park was located.

There are still some state parks, mostly on the east side of Utah, that will remain open only to county residents where that park is located because of local health department directives.

“We are certainly still abiding by those local orders,” said Eugene Swalberg, Utah State Parks public information officer.

For those parks opening to everyone, though, social distancing, staying in your group and giving others room to pass on trails will still be required.

“Oh yeah. Absolutely. The buzz word now is responsible recreation,” Swalberg said.

That was just fine for Ryan.

“I can totally social distance,” she said with a laugh.

She also said she’ll never take visiting a state park for granted again.

“I’d like to be able to visit all of our state parks this year,” said Ryan.

Kelly Ryan outside her tent at Great Salt Lake State Park.

Visitors centers will still be closed and state park administrators were still trying to clarify with state leaders what to do about out-of-state visitors. Visitors were also encouraged to prepay for day-use passes to limit contact with park staff.

“It’s a fluid situation, as it has been for weeks,” said Swalberg. “But we’ll get it figured out.”

“The governor’s announcement (Friday) applies to areas managed by the Division of Parks and Recreation only; it does not apply to recreation areas managed by other local, state, or federal agencies,” park officials said.

Updates on the Utah State Parks can be found here.


Coronavirus Resources

For more on how Utah is combating the coronavirus, go to coronavirus.utah.gov. 

To find a COVID-19 testing location near you, go to coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations.

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

6 days ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

1 month ago

Skiers and snowboarders at the Beaver Mountain Resort...

Mike Anderson and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Ski resorts prepare for influx of snow and people

Many Utah ski resorts are finally getting the snow they waited all December for, just in time for another big storm.

1 month ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

2 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Governor Lifts Restrictions At State Parks; Some Still Limited To ‘County-Only’ Visitors