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Tips for staying safe outdoors as more recreation lands reopen


More public lands are reopening for limited use following closures to slow the spread of COVID-19. King County is offering guidelines for safely enjoying parks, trails, and natural areas.


King County Parks is reopening parks and trails on May 8 following a six-week closure in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 transmissions through the state.

Outdoor recreation is a great idea but we absolutely need to continue to take precautions to prevent bringing COVID-19 back home with us. Everyone must practice safe distancing and good hand hygiene whether indoors or out because lives depend on it," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Where parks and trails are experiencing overcrowding and where safe distancing is not occurring, we will need to recommend re-closing those facilities to prevent the spread of infection."

As part of reopening more than 28,000 acres of parks and open space, 175 miles of regional trails and 215 miles of backcountry trails, King County is offering tips for staying healthy while enjoying the outdoors:

  • Plan ahead. Be prepared to go somewhere else if your destination seems crowded. Add hand sanitizer and a mask or other face covering to your 10 Essentials.
  • Keep your distance. Recreate with those in your household. Give others plenty of room, communicate who will step aside on the trail, and don't forget that trail etiquette gives hikers coming uphill the right of way.
  • Stay local. Don't stray too far from home when recreating and keep rural communities safe by minimizing stops and bringing all that you'll need for your outing.
  • Play it safe. Keep your activities within your comfort and skill level to reduce the risk of injury and adding to the strain on our health care and emergency services.
  • Leave no trace. Take any garbage with you, including disposable face masks and gloves.

King County Parks will update the status of its parks, trails, and facilities at

Active use and high-touch facilities such as restrooms, play areas, sports courts, and picnic shelters will remain closed, and organized events and programs will remain suspended.

King County's May 8 reopening of parks and trails follows Washington state's reopening of state-managed recreation lands on May 5.

Case updates

Daily totals for new COVID-19 cases and deaths are available on Public Health's Data Dashboard webpage, which updates as soon as data are available, typically between 1-3 p.m.

Isolation and quarantine facilities update

Isolation and quarantine is a proven public health practice for reducing the spread of disease.

Forty-seven people are currently staying in King County isolation, quarantine and recovery facilities. The number of residents at King County's isolation and quarantine sites is included in regular updates provided by Public Health. No other identifying or personal information will be provided.

Additional information

  • Information about COVID-19 and the response in King County, be sure to check our webpage:
  • Public Health publishes new information frequently through the Public Health Insider blog – please consider becoming a subscriber by choosing the option to "Follow Blog Via Email."