As Pennsylvania begins opening up, hard-hit Pike stays closed

Milford. Are you planning a hike, camp-out, fishing trip, or round of golf? Here's what you need to know.

06 May 2020 | 03:58

On Friday, May 8, some counties in Pennsylvania will start to reopen. Twenty four counties in the north and west will move from the red phase of the state's COVID-19 response -- the stay at home order issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on April 1 -- to the yellow phase, which calls for "aggressive mitigation."

No counties are yet in the green phase, in which mitigation is lifted.

Pike County remains in the red phase. As of May 6, 415 Pike residents have tested positive for coronavirus and 17 have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Pike and other counties in eastern Pennsylvania have been hardest-hit cases and deaths per capita. The counties opening up in the north and western part of the state have seen fewer cases, and businesses will be allowed to open with safety measures in place, such as social distancing, masking, sanitizing, and teleworking where possible.

“Businesses in the 24 counties that may reopen beginning May 8 must take precautions to protect their employees, their employees’ families, and their communities,” Wolf said. “First and foremost, businesses that have been operating using telework must continue to do so to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 until the stay-at-home and business closure orders are fully lifted when we enter a 'green' phase."

Parks, trails, campgrounds

New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy re-opened parks and private golf courses across New Jersey beginning at sunrise on May 2. Quarantine-weary visitors converged on Great Gorge Golf Course at Mountain Creek and Wawayanda State Park, both in Vernon, on opening day. The capacious parking lot at Wawayanda overflowed, despite the governor's 50 percent cap on the number of cars allowed at state park parking lots. Cars lined the access road off Warwick Turnpike.

Pennsylvania: Outdoor recreation reopened on May 1 statewide. Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds were allowed to reopen as long as they follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on visiting parks and recreational facilities. Campgrounds i nstate parks will remain closed through Thursday, May 14.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: Backcountry campsites on Appalachian Trail, in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, are closed until May 22. Because of ongoing work on the Old Mine Road between mile markers 13-14 (Blue Mountain Lakes Road intersection to the Flatbrookville Bridge), there will be single-lane closures with short delays throughout the day on Thursday, May 7, and Friday, May 8. )

The National Park Service reported that many locations were full to capacity over the weekend, which brought beautiful spring weather. Those locations included Raymondskill Falls, Lake Lenape, Hidden Lake, Dingmans Falls, Resort Point/Mt.Minsi Aream in addition to all parking areas in the National Park Drive area, including Slateford Falls, Slateford Farm, the Duck Pond areas, and most parking areas north of Route 739. No parking is available in the Mountain Road/Buttermilk Falls area.

The park service said Saturday "brought record visitation, traffic jams, and congestion in several popular areas and social distancing was not being widely practiced. Sites are expected to begin filling to capacity by 10-11 a.m."

Park officials urge visitors to avoid high-use trails: "If you encounter a crowded trailhead, go elsewhere. Do not park illegally. There are more than 150 miles of trails in the park. Stay out of areas that are closed."

All restrooms in the park are closed. No hand-washing facilities are available in the park. For more hiking information and updates visit nps.gov/dewa/planyourvisit/trails.htm.

Delaware River boat launches: The Dingmans Ferry Access and Kittatinny Point are closed. Motorized boat launches are open at Milford Beach, Bushkill Access, Smithfield Beach, and Poxono Access. the Old Mine Road is closed between Route 80 and the Worthington State Forest boundary just south of Turtle Beach. The Poxono boat launch may be accessed via Hwy 602 from Blairstown or the north end of Old Mine Road.

Childs Park in Dingmans Ferry, which closed in spring 2018 because of storm damage, remains closed.

The Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry is closed.

Camp Archbald events have been canceled through Aug. 31. The Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania said the cancellation affects all on-site events hosted by Supporters of Camp Archbald, including summer resident and day camps, the 100th anniversary reunion event, and adult training sessions. The Scouts will issue refunds for all activities that are affected beginning next week. The S’more Fun at Camp Archbald originally scheduled for on Sept. 12 will now be held as a virtual event. Supporters can view some of the activities via Zoom. For more information visit supportersofcamparchbald.org.

New York: Parks, grounds, forests, and trails are currently open in New York State but visitors are discouraged. Many park facilities including playgrounds, athletic courts/fields, and visitor and nature centers are closed. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says if you do plan on visiting, avoid crowded areas and wear face coverings where you cannot maintain safe social distance. Several popular trails and parking areas are closed until further notice. Closed trails are listed at parks.ny.gov/parks/9/details.aspx. All campsites, cabins, pavilions/shelters, and swimming areas are closed through May 31.