California State Parks announced Thursday the temporary closure of Turlock Lake State Recreation Area's campground area to avoid visitation surges and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The closure was effective Friday.
Current reservation holders are being contacted via email by ReserveCalifornia and refunds will be automatic, according to the parks service. Walk-up reservations will not be accepted. However, the boat ramp and day-use parking remain open at this time.
Located in the rolling foothills of eastern Stanislaus County, Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is managed by American Land Leisure and is open all year and normally offers a variety of recreational opportunities such as camping, picnicking, fishing and swimming.
This summer, however, Turlock Lake SRA has seen a surge in visitation, prompting concerns about public health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the Stanislaus County Emergency Operations Center and local public health officials, State Parks has temporarily closed the campground to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Stanislaus County is implementing similar operational changes at Woodward and Modesto Reservoirs.
Everyone has a responsibility to slow the spread, including in the outdoors. California continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and fatalities. State Parks reminds the public to avoid road trips to public outdoor spaces, stay close to home and follow all state and local public health guidance.
California State Parks continues to monitor visitation and physical distancing across the State Park System. If unsafe conditions develop, parks and beaches may need to decrease access in certain areas.
New visitor guidelines implemented by State Parks:
· Stay Local – Stay close to home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do not travel if you are sick, or someone in your household has had coronavirus in the last two weeks.
· Plan Ahead – Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of the local outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, if camping reservations can be booked and what visitor guidelines are in effect. Be aware of local public health orders, which may be stricter than statewide guidelines.
· Stay Safer at 6 feet – No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. Visitors may be asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distancing.
· Keep Clean – Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash. If you are camping in an RV, please use the restrooms in your own unit. This will help reduce the use of shared restrooms at campgrounds.
· Stay Covered - The state now requires you to wear a face covering in the outdoors when you cannot stay at least 6 feet away from non-household members. For details, please read California Department of Public Health’s guidance for the use of face coverings.
For more information about the latest efforts the department has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, visit www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.