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Patagonia Lake State Park promotes social distancing with camping restrictions

Posted at 6:46 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 10:25:43-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Patagonia Lake State Park has restricted camping throughout the pandemic to promote social distancing.

Park Manager Colt Alford said the park is restricting the amount of visitors each day, especially on weekends.

"To control that visitation, we experience temporary day use closures on Saturday and Sundays," Alford said. "The park can close as early as 9 a.m. and not reopen until late afternoon. What this means is we’re stuck turning people away."

Alford said they're turning away about 500 vehicles each weekend.

Before COVID-19, the park would average up to 1,500 people a day. Now, they have only about 500 for day use.

"It’s really heartbreaking when you have to turn around people because you’ve reached that social distancing number," Alford said.

The park never had to close because of the pandemic, so Alford said the park rangers have been working hard to keep facilities open, while keeping people safe.

"It’s required to wear your mask when you come into the park, when you enter and when you enter any building, and then, when social distancing isn’t possible," Alford said.

Right now, the restriction will be in place until mid September, but could be extended.