TRENTON – New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe this past weekend strongly reminded visitors to state parks and forests of the urgent need to follow social distancing measures to protect themselves and fellow visitors from COVID-19.

“We experienced extremely high usage across the New Jersey State Park System over the past weekend,” McCabe said. “While most park users tried to follow social distancing requirements, and many wore face coverings, we strongly urge all visitors to redouble their efforts to keep 6 feet apart and to wear face coverings when around other visitors. This is critical to the success of the state’s continuing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please cooperate with park police and staff to help keep us all safe, and to ensure that we all can continue to enjoy New Jersey’s beautiful outdoor spaces at a time when we need them most.”

Visitors to New Jersey’s State Parks and Forests are reminded to:

  • Wear face coverings when near others to help protect yourselves and fellow park visitors.
  • Stay at least six feet away from each other.
  • Visit parks alone or with immediate family only. No group gatherings.
  • Visit the park nearest to your home.
  • Do not picnic, set up chairs, blankets or coolers, or go swimming.
  • Park only in designated areas.
  • Restrooms and other facilities remain closed, so be sure to “go before you go” and limit your time in the park.

Social distancing requirements are being strictly enforced. Parking at state parks is limited to 50% capacity and visitors will be turned away from parks that have reached that capacity. Last weekend, a number of parks saw very high usage over the weekend, resulting in parking lot capacity being reached. Consequently, the Park Service is requesting people to keep their visits short, to allow others an opportunity to enjoy being outside.

Parks that had large crowds last weekend included Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest, Double Trouble State Park, Hacklebarney State Park, Norvin Green State Forest, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Round Valley Recreation Area, the Skylands section of Ringwood State Park, and Waywayanda State Park. In addition, Corson’s Inlet State Park was closed due to excessive usage and lack of adherence to social distancing.

The Park Service recognizes that many people are first-time or infrequent visitors to state parks. Alerts are posted in real time on the Park Service Facebook page. The Park Service recommends that the public follow updates on Facebook to decide when to visit the park nearest them.

Visitors can also sign up for email alerts through the Park Service website at

To find the state park or forest nearest you, visit

Social Distancing in New Jersey State Parks

Some parks will close early because of reduced capacity. Check our Facebook page New Jersey State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites for updates on closings and re-openings before you go out to a park.BEFORE YOU VISIT, remember four things: 1. Stay close to home, Check to find a park near you.2. "Go" before you go — bathrooms are closed.3. Plan to stay less than two hours as parking has been limited to 50% capacity and a two-hour visit will free up space for others.4. Bring a mask and hand sanitizer with you. And do not bring chairs and coolers as picnics are not permitted.WHILE AT THE PARK, keep in mind three things:1. Park in designated areas ONLY. State Park Police will ticket those illegally parked on shoulders and roads. Do not move barricades to create a parking spot — barricades are there to limit the parking to 50% capacity. 2. Do not use parks to meet up with others. Visit with your immediate family only. 3. When you encounter other visitors, mask up. This helps protect yourself, and others.Thank you for doing your part to help curb the spread of COVID-19. UPDATES ON COVID-19 in NJLearn more about COVID-19 in New Jersey: http://covid19.nj.govNJ residents can call 211 with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and to learn resources available to them.Residents can also text NJCOVID to 898-211 to subscribe to text message updates on NJ COVID-19.#NJStateParks

Posted by New Jersey State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites on Friday, May 8, 2020

Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.