DCR cancels all state campground reservations

Starting over, season will now start July 1

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION canceled all existing reservations at state campgrounds on Thursday and said new reservations can be made starting later this month for stays beginning on July 1.

The decision, which affects tens of thousands of campers who often make their reservations six months in advance, signals the state is taking a very cautious approach on camping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s unclear how much revenue the state is losing; a spokeswoman for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees all state parks and campgrounds, could not be reached for comment.

Under the administration’s own reopening guidance, the state campgrounds could have opened already, but only for people with self-contained recreational vehicles or those staying in cabins and Yurts.

But DCR chose not to open at all and on Thursday decided to put off opening until July 1. The agency also decided not to accept reservations for Yurts and cabins, despite its own guidance.

Seven campgrounds, including Beartown State Forest, Boston Harbor Islands State Park, Federated Women’s Club State Forest, Mt. Greylock State Reservation, Mt. Washington State forest, Waquoit Bay/Washburn Island, and Willard Brook State Forest, will not open at all. Campsites at Safari Field at Scusset Beach as well as all picnic areas and pavilions will be closed.

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Reservations for July and beyond can be made on June 22 starting at 9 a.m. DCR said it is assessing a camping fee increase for three months on non-Massachusetts residents. DCR’s reservation website indicates the fee at Nickerson State Park, the state’s most popular park, will be $22 a night for Massachusetts residents and $70 a night for non-residents. Non-residents are also hit with a $5-a-night surcharge.

Pat Lee, a DCR official, sent emails to those with existing reservations saying they would automatically receive a refund and didn’t need to do anything.  He also said park officials were reconfiguring campsites to put more distance between visitors.