Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Lake Cuyamaca in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is among sites now closed to vehicle access.

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – California State Parks announced today that vehicle access is shut down to all 280 state parks due to visitors not following social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak. In San Diego County, state parks include Cuyamaca Rancho, Anza Borrego Desert, and San Pasqual Battlefield state parks as well as state beaches at Cardiff, Carlsbad and Torrey Pines.

"During this pandemic disease, every person has a role to play in slowing down the spread of #COVID19. Please protect yourself, your families and communities by practicing social/ physical distancing,” a Facebook post from California State Parks reads.

The action to close vehicular access follows earlier closure of campgrounds, visitor centers, museums and events in all state parks.

It is unclear when any of the parks will be reopened as the pandemic continues to spread statewide.

California State Parks encourages residents to take precautions, which include:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Stay close to home when you get outdoors. This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach.
  • Venture out only with people in your immediate household.
  • Walk around the neighborhood and enjoy neighborhood parks.
  • Always maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more when recreating in the outdoors. If you cannot maintain physical distancing, leave the park.
  • Do not congregate in parks. 

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.


No reason for this

Lies and more lies. Lies and fear to control people. Borrego was very quiet last week and no one was congregating. I want to see some proof. The many conflicting things on the news, the low numbers of sick, hospitalized and deaths that they do not compare to the population, knowing an El Cajon Pharmacist was sick then fled to Orange County to self Quarantine, and allegedly died of the virus without seeking any help and having the fastest autopsy of the month, without informing anyone in the community when Leaders knew are a few reasons I am so upset about the closures of our open spaces. I want scientific evidence that hiking, bike riding, offroading, walking across the beach to surf have any chance of spreading or contracting this virus (NOT a disease as many are calling it). People are not going to put up with this crying wolf for the next 2 months. Yes, people will die as they do of countless other illnesses, vehicle collisions and such. Ch 8 was telling people to "get out and Volunteer", Cuoma was on the news this morning saying "if you are healthy, come to New York and help us", we are supposed to support restaurants when the preparers are now turning up with the virus, yet you can't hike in the Desert? Can't have it both ways and the non-Sheeple know it.

You can hike desert trails but state parks parking lots are shut

down.  They are open to locals who know how to get in there, and that is still legal with social distancing, FYI, though not an option for everyone.

I agree with you that the press and public should be told earlier when there is a confirmed case in a place the public visited, including a business open to the public such as the pharmacy in El Cajon.

Actually there is scientific disagreeement on how far away is safe for social distancing with coronavirus.  Studies and estimates around the world range from 3 feet to 27 feet.  Wind may blow the virus farther, so surfers six feet apart in the ocean are likely not safe on a breezy day. 

Those who ignore social distancing will prove Darwin's survival of the fittest; if they ignore science and crowd together they will be the most likely to die of this virus.

Yes, I hike nearly every day in Anza Borrego DSP,

hardly ever see anyone, and try to remember not to get close when I do encounter another hiker because they may have the virus without realizing it (no symptoms). The virus can spread in an aerosol, respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or just breathes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. This virus does have the ability to transmit far easier than flu, and is probably about three times as infectious as flu.

The reason is simple. . .

people were using their freedom to move by congregating with others, which is a problem because the virus spreads by aerosols emitted by infected people. It has been amply demonstrated in other countries that isolation reduces transmission, and thereby reduces casualties which ought to be in everyone's interest. Therefore that freedom to move and poison others was removed, which is a good thing.

Anza Borrego

I can imagine closing parks like Cuyamaca, there's a road where it's easy to control traffic. Anza Borrego is the largest  state park in California.It will be difficult to close it, there won't be any rangers patrolling the park.