Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has placed tough new requirements on out-of-state visitors to comply with orders intended to prevent the spread and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. “We are making some changes to our overnight stays for out-of-state-visitors and our programming to help decrease the spread of COVID-19,” said (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
Anyone who visits from another state must now have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth.
If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania before visiting a state park or forest; and Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon return.
Out-of-state visitors cannot use state park overnight facilities to meet the 14-day quarantine requirement. Out-of-state residents visiting for the day also must comply with the mitigation efforts. Visitors who don’t comply may be fined between $25 and $300.
Visitor center exhibit halls and interpretive areas will be closed, and all indoor programs will be canceled. Restrooms will continue to be available.
Masks are required to be worn:
• In park and forest offices;
• In any other indoor public space including restrooms;
• During both indoor and outdoor special events and gatherings; and
• Outdoors when visitors are unable to adequately social distance.
All outdoor environmental education and recreation programs will be limited to 20 people, to include staff and volunteer leaders. Masks must be work by all participants, and services will be denied if visitors cannot comply.
The changes will remain in effect until at least January 15, 2021.
Dunn noted that visits to Pennsylvania state parks have increased by more than a million visitors a month since the start of mitigation efforts, and that interest is expected to hold strong through the winter and spring.
Pennsylvania has 121 state parks and 20 forest districts, and they are all open year-round.