The staff at Vermont state parks are getting ready for summer.
The Agency of Natural Resources is in the process of onboarding more than 300 seasonal employees, anticipating camping facilities will be ready for overnight guests starting June 26.
Julie Moore, secretary for the Agency of Natural Resources said state park campgrounds will offer tent, RV, and lean-to camping.
“Existing reservations are being honored to the maximum extent possible and new reservations can be made online,” she said Monday.
But, she added, things will look different.
“We will be taking steps to help promote and maintain physical distance between unrelated park visitors, between staff and visitors, and to manage, reduce, or eliminate common touchpoints”, says Moore.
The agency said campers should postpone their visit if they feel ill or have been recently exposed to COVID-19. They will be required to maintain six feet of physical distance from anyone they did not travel to the park with, and all visitors are encouraged to wear a mask when encountering other visitors or staff.
However, rentals of camping gear and park concessions are unlikely to be available this summer. Michael Snyder, commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, said they are trying to minimize high touch areas.
“Campgrounds are set up reasonably well for people to enjoy their time in their campsites and we see no reason to change that,” he said. “But certain places of high contact or congregation will be managed to limit the spread.”
While cleaning and sanitizing will be park staff responsibility, officials want guests to do their part.
“It will be a shared responsibility but in large measure out staff will take on a certain responsibility for appropriate cleaning,” he said. “Say the bathroom facilities, etc. We will be doing that regularly according to the best guidance.”
Snyder said he hopes state parks become a place for Vermonters to turn to if some of their other vacation plans change.
“We are hoping that it will be busy and healthy and happy,” he said. “But we will all learn together how to do it a little bit differently this year.”