OLYMPIA ­— The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission encourages safe and responsible gatherings in state parks during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

  The Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year, prompting concerns by state Parks staff about larger-than-normal attendance over the holiday weekend, crowding and poor etiquette, especially at parks on or near beaches, lakes and rivers.  

  To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Parks reminds celebrants to practice social distancing and good hygiene, use face coverings and limit party sizes.

  Parks also urges visitors to:

  • Recreate close to home and only with members of the same household.

  • Check for park closures before heading out.

  • Bring extra supplies,  including sanitizer and toilet paper.

  • Pack out what you’ve packed in.

  • Have a Plan B in case a park is too crowded.

  For those visiting parks for day-use only, purchasing a Discover Pass before arriving at the park also will help.

  Many communities adjacent to state parks are in Phase 1 or 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Washington plan. Several smaller counties may have difficulty serving an influx of visitors. Fueling up and shopping before leaving home will ease the burden on these places.