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.
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.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.