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TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced June 20 that camping will begin in 12 state parks, forests and recreation areas June 22.

According to a release, the reopening will be consistent with Gov. Phil Murphy's COVID-19 public health protection goals that stress social distancing and wearing masks.

"We are pleased to resume camping at New Jersey state parks and forests, knowing how important these activities are to so many people," Commissioner McCabe stated. "We are taking every precaution to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our guests and strongly remind the public of the importance of maintaining proper 6-foot social distancing and wearing masks when visiting this summer."

Under the governor's Executive Order 148, the DEP will implement a plan for reopening of camping at 14 state-run areas.

Twelve of those areas will be opened June 22, which are High Point State Park, Jenny Jump State Forest, Stokes State Forest and Worthington State Forest, in the northern region; Allaire State Park, Cheesequake State Park and Spruce Run Recreation Area, in the central region; and Bass River State Forest, Belleplain State Forest, Brendan Byrne State Forest, Parvin State Park and Wharton State Forest, in the southern region.

Camping will reopen June 29 at Swartswood State Park and Stephens State Forest, in the northern part of the state.

The DEP has taken into account the physical layouts of each park in determining the percentage of campsites to reopen. At most areas, at least 50% of sites will be open. All sites will be open at High Point and Jenny Jump.

Camping remains closed at the Round Valley Recreation Area, Washington Crossing State Park, Kittatinny Valley State Park, Waywayanda State Park and Voorhees State Park.

To account for social distancing requirements and staffing necessary to clean and maintain indoor facilities, camping will be limited to tent-style camping, while all other forms of overnight use, including cabins, shelters, group cabins, wilderness campsites, primitive campsites and group campsites, will remain closed.

Rigorous cleaning protocols for restrooms, shower facilities and other facilities and common areas will be implemented, following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). Also, barriers are being installed to limit contact between staff and visitors.

Campground guests will be encouraged by signage to wear a mask when in public and indoor spaces, such as gatehouses and restrooms. They must maintain a 6-foot distance from other individuals that are not immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or partners.

Visitors are encouraged to make reservations, cancellations and payments via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions by visiting www.njportal.com/DEP/NJOutdoors. The option to pay by cash remains available.

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