DCNR, State Parks, and Forests Facility Closures and Outdoor Rec Guidance
State Park and Forest Facilities Closed
The public can access trails, lakes, roads, and parking for passive and dispersed recreation, such as hiking; however, all facilities at state parks and forests in Pennsylvania will be closed until May 8, 2020, to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Pennsylvania state park overnight facilities will remain closed through May 14.
Closed facilities include:
- Park and forest offices and visitor centers
- Campgrounds, cabins, and all forms of overnight accommodations, including the Nature Inn
- Public programs, events, and trainings are canceled
We encourage practicing social distancing while enjoying open spaces avoiding groups and crowds, and visitors should be respectful of our natural places and use the bathroom before they leave home.
We will be providing full refunds on all reservable facilities, such as campsites, cabins, cottages, pavilions, lodges, and the Nature Inn.
State park visitors with reservations will be contacted regarding refund procedures.
Outdoor Recreation Guidance
The best advice to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home. Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, biking, or running is allowed if social distancing is maintained.
Under the stay-at-home order, we strongly encourage people to recreate at a park or trail that is nearest to their home. Look for locations within 15 minutes of your home.
People should not travel outside of their community to other outdoor locations across the state, such as state parks, forests, private camps, leased campsites, etc.
Additional resource about the stay-at-home order and outdoor recreation:
DCNR also has developed the following resources for guidance when recreating outdoors during this pandemic:
- Guidance on Spending Time Outdoors (PDF)
- Protect Yourself and Others Outdoors (PDF)
- Protect Yourself and Others Outdoors in Spanish (PDF)
- Practice Social Distancing and Leave No Trace (PDF)
- Practice Social Distancing and Leave No Trace in Spanish (PDF)
DCNR Main Office Closed
In order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, DCNR’s main office in Harrisburg is closed until May 8.
Most of DCNR’s central office staff is teleworking and still fulfilling the mission of the department. The best way to contact staff is through individual email or theDCNR contact us form.
Service of Legal Process
For Service of Legal Process, call the Administrative Assistant, DCNR Office of Chief Counsel, at 717-772-4171, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right to Know Requests
As of March 16, 2020, the Rachel Carson State Office Building was closed in accordance with Governor Tom Wolf’s guidance on COVID-19 mitigation. Any requests for public records submitted to DCNR on or after Monday, March 16, 2020, will be deemed to have been received by DCNR’s open-records officer on the first day of the reopening of the Rachel Carson State Office Building.
Please note that the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records issued a statement indicating that “if an agency is closed on a given day, that day does not count toward the five business days referenced in Section 901 of the Right-to-Know Law, which governs the time period under which an agency must respond to a request.”
Essential vs Non-Essential Business-Related Questions?
For questions related to the order to close all non-essential businesses, please contact the following:
- What businesses are affected: email@example.com
- Waiver eligibility or to apply for a waiver: firstname.lastname@example.org
State Park and Forest Events Canceled
Amid concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19, all public programs, events, and trainings in state parks and forests will be canceled from Friday, March 13, through Friday, May 8.
This cancellation of events applies to all public educational programs, special events such as races and festivals, and teacher and other trainings.
This includes programming by Friends groups and the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.