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Oregon Coast Closes Camping; Washington Halts Razor Clam Digs

Published 03/19/2020 at 7:04 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Closes Camping; Washington Halts Razor Clam Digs

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(Portland, Oregon) – Two different kinds of closures are affecting the Oregon coast and Washington coast as of Thursday, both out of coronavirus concerns. Washington has canceled its previously approved razor clam digs along parts of its coastline, and three different Oregon agencies have temporarily shut down all their campsites throughout the state, including the coast.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will honor current campsite reservations until April 2, but all campsites through state parks will be closed from April 3 through May 8. Site fees will be refunded for those reservations. The decision affects all individual and group overnight facilities: campsites, yurts, cabins, tepees, and services operated by concessionaires. The suspended service also affects reservations for group day-use areas.

Oregon Department of Forestry maintains campgrounds in the Clatsop, Santiam, and Tillamook State Forests. Most campgrounds are currently closed for the season, and will not reopen for individual or group use. Year-round campgrounds will close starting on Monday, March 23. All day-use and campground restrooms are temporarily closed due to limited janitorial services. A reopening date for all restrooms and state forest campgrounds has not yet been determined. During this time, trails, forest roads and trailheads on state forestlands will remain open to the public.

State officials said many of these facilities are small and social distancing is difficult.

“To support the state goal of reducing transmission of COVID-19, temporary campground closures are necessary,” Oregon officials said in a press release.

If you are headed to the coast - and state officials are not recommending it - see lodging / hotel options with openings (many do have exceptional rates right now). If you do go, stay clear of other visitors and locals. Stick to empty beaches and forests.

Along the Washington coast, COVID-19 concerns in that state – which is among the worse off in the nation – have resulted in Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) shutting down the razor clam digs that were scheduled to start tomorrow, Friday, March 20. In response to orders given by Pacific County health officials and worries voiced by local beach communities the previously approved digs have been halted.

The cancelled digs include those for March 20 – 23 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Officials acknowledge this was extremely short notice but these are very unique circumstances.

“WDFW is responsive to the needs of local communities, and we manage razor clams in consultation with our coastal communities to ensure sustainable harvest,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW’s coastal region director. “But, under these circumstances, we need to include more than sustainable harvest in our decision making and do what is the best for the community. We understand that the county health department is responding to a global pandemic and WDFW is cancelling these digs to support that work and keep folks healthy.”

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