As Governor Roy Cooper’s order to ease restrictions takes effect later this week, 29 state parks will reopen to the public on Saturday, May 9th. That includes Fort Macon, which is one of the most visited state parks each year.
“Our main goal is to give people access to the park without it getting too crowded,” said Katie Hall, the Public Information Officer for the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.
Fort Macon State Park closed almost seven weeks ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, beach areas, trails, and restrooms will reopen to the public. However, the visitors center and the exhibit will remain closed. Hall said park rangers are expecting a record number of visitors this weekend, surpassing park visitation numbers during the Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day holidays.
“We’re not really opening the park for people to hang out. The idea is to get to the park, get some fresh air, get some exercise, run on the beach, whatever you like to do, and then get home and give other visitors a chance to spend some time outdoors at the park.”
Hall said park staff will monitor the capacity of the parking lot to make sure Fort Macon doesn’t become too crowded. Visitors are asked to wear masks, bring their own water, and practice social distancing.
“This first weekend is going to be challenging for everybody,” said Hall. “We’re just asking people to be patient and understanding.”