Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced on Saturday that masks must be worn outdoors when out-of-state park visitors are unable to social distance.

“Since the beginning of efforts to address the pandemic, we have kept our state park and forest lands open to all so that people can safely enjoy outdoor recreation as a way to maintain positive physical and mental health, and that will continue to be the case,” Dunn said. “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.”

To contain the spread of the virus, the DCNR will be enforcing similar restrictions to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s travel mitigation order.

For the safety of visitors and staff, the following mitigation orders will be required at state parks:

  • Anyone who visits Pennsylvania from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours/three days prior to the date of travel
  • 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
  • Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours/three days prior to their return to the state 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, according to the DCNR.

Masks/face coverings are required to be worn at the following places:

  • Parks and forest offices
  • Any other indoor public space, including restrooms
  • During both indoor and outdoor special events and gatherings
  • 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/face coverings must be worn by all participants, and services will be denied if visitors cannot comply.

The changes were effective as of Saturday and will remain enforced until at least Jan. 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.

“We encourage people to embrace being active outdoors, even in the winter, because there are so many benefits associated with enjoying nature,” Dunn said. “With the appropriate clothing and preparedness, winter is among the most beautiful and peaceful times in our parks and forests.”

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