COVID-19: Fishing, Camping, Hiking Closures Happening Nationwide

Texas State Parks Limit Programming
March 26, 2020
Popular Texas Beaches Closed
March 30, 2020

At the time of this writing (3/27/20) news was coming in from all around the nation of various outdoor access being closed throughout the United States. Here are the ones we have confirmed.

Listen to Chester Moore’s podcast about the impact of COVID-19 on conservation and the hunting world.

Texas: As part of COVID-19 operational changes, state parks will be suspending all cash transactions where feasible. Visitors are encouraged to utilize the self-pay stations, the online reservation system and credit card transactions at this time. Other reduced services include the suspension of equipment rentals and interpretive programs.

Park visitors should check the Texas State Parks Alert Map regularly for the latest information about the status of parks.

In addition to the operational changes at Texas State Parks, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement and boat registration offices, including the license and boat registration counter at TPWD’s Austin headquarters, will be closed to public visitation. Texans needing to purchase hunting and fishing licensesboat and motor owner transfers, and boat registration renewals are encouraged to visit or call the department at 512-389-4800.

These changes will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. TPWD will continue to monitor the evolving health situation with local and state officials and will adjust operations at department sites and facilities as necessary. The public is encouraged to follow the department’s social media accounts and monitor its website for the most up to date information.

Louisiana: The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary, Jack Montoucet, signed a declaration of emergency to delay the opening of the recreational red snapper season. This delay will allow the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) to gather public input and set the season at their May 7, 2020 meeting.  The normal LWFC meeting in April was canceled due to the COVID-19 emergency.

“By rule, the recreational red snapper season opens the Saturday before Palm Sunday (April 4 this year), unless the LWFC or the LDWF Secretary provides an alternative prior to that day. Due to the importance of this recreational fishery to our anglers, Secretary Montoucet has chosen to delay the opening and allow for additional public input, rather than set a season-opening without this issue being discussed in a public meeting.”

Washington (State): According to Q6 News from Spokane, “Recreational fishing and shellfishing has been closed by the WDFW statewide, closing all wildlife areas and water access areas for at least two weeks beginning Wednesday, March 25.”

Oregon: Following the announcement by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) that it will close all recreational fisheries in the state of Washington, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that it will close recreational salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River, effective Thursday, March 26 at 11:59 p.m.

Oregon and Washington jointly manage fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River bordering both states and seek to have concurrent regulations. At this time, other ongoing fisheries in Oregon remain unchanged, and fishing for species other than salmon and steelhead will still be allowed in Oregon portions of the Columbia River as described in permanent rules.

Anglers are reminded to follow the rules for social distancing and maintain at least 6 feet distance from other people and minimize non-essential travel, as directed in an executive order issued earlier this week by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.  ODFW also asks that anglers and the public help ensure the safety of ODFW employees they may encounter in the field who are doing their jobs by maintaining adequate social distance.

As with the Washington closure, ODFW anticipates the Columbia River salmon and steelhead fishing closure lasting at least until April 8, 2020.

ODFW regrets any inconvenience to anglers and appreciates everyone coming together to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Colorado: Colorado State Parks remain open, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will close all playgrounds, campgrounds, dispersed camping and camping facilities (including yurts and cabins) at Colorado’s state parks as well as camping at State Wildlife Areas effective Thursday, March 26 until further notice. This action has been taken based on The Stay-At-Home Order from Colorado Governor Jared Polis and the advice of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Colorado Parks and Wildlife visitor centers, service centers and offices are also continuing to restrict access to the public. Restrictions and closures remain subject to change.
As we learn about more closures and restrictions related to outdoors opportunities, we will post at




  1. Benny Arfele says:

    The following is from Port Mansfield Texas

    Port Mansfield Police Department
    March 26 at 2:47 PM

    • Randy Schroder says:

      Why close the boat ramps? You can’t get more social distance then on a wade or drift hundreds of yards from the next nearest boat.

  2. Kevin says:

    FYI, Aransas County closed their ramps a couple days ago…..all the way from Fulton to Ingleside…….pushing all fishing guides and recreational folks to San Patricio and Nueces (hopefully not to overcrowd) ramps……really? Emailed Aransas County and EA to Judge response posted below….wonder if they contacted the San Pat and Nueces judges beforehand……I called and spoke to San Pat EA and she said the SP judge was concerned…I left my phone number and name if they wanted to contact me….
    Here is a cut and paste from the Aransas County judge’s EA

    Good Morning,

    The order to stay at home was amended yesterday which included all the boat ramps closure and modified renting accommodation. This to limit influx of vacation travelers from all over Texas and protect local residents. During this past weekend numerous of out of town visitors and fisherman was observed in the County. The decision was not made lightly bur the order is to protect the citizens of Aransas County . I hope you will understand.
    Please see attached current amended order.


    David Klanica
    Executive Assistant to County Judge
    Aransas County Courthouse
    2840 Highway 35 North |Rockport, TX 78382
    [email protected]
    Off: 361-790-0100 Fax:361-727-2043

    So, to me it looks like both Port Mansfield and Aransas Counties decided to close ramps because of out of towners potential of bringing the virus with them, I get it and respect their decision,,,,,,however, maybe stop fishing guides first, since they are the ones who attract out of towners…leave open to us recreational folks…just doesn’t make sense to just close all ramps……glad San Pat Judge hasn’t rushed to a decision…….I would worry more about getting the corona virus from a car wash coin changer
    or gas pump before worrying about a boat ramp….but if it saves lives….