Turner Falls Park set to reopen Friday with some restrictions in place

Sierra Rains
Turner Falls Park will be opening back up to the public on Friday, May 1. Only 2,000 people will be allowed in the park at one time.

After around a month and a half of closure in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Turner Falls Park in Davis will be opening back up to the public, with a few restrictions still in place.

Park Manager Billy Standifer said the park will reopen on Friday, May 1, with ticket sales beginning online and in person at 8 a.m.

The 1,500-acre park normally operates under a maximum capacity of around 5,000 people. However, only 2,000 people will be allowed in at one time until further notice.

“People are just wanting to get out and go somewhere and we’re just going to try to accommodate a few people and just try to have everybody get back to normal lives if we can,” Standifer said.

Susan Suther, the public information officer for the city of Davis, said the decision to reopen the park came after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a three-phased plan to reopen businesses in the state earlier this week.

Based on the recommendations from the governor, the Davis City Council and city manager decided that a soft opening would be appropriate. However, visitors at the Turner Falls Park are urged to continue following CDC and public health guidelines.

Standifer said overnight tent camping and RV camping will be allowed, but campers are asked to stay at least 20 feet away from other campsites.

“We are limiting that and RV sites will be limited,” Standifer said. “They’ll be cut in half to what they normally are and so will the tent camping.”

Odd numbered cabins will also be available to rent and swimming will be allowed at visitors’ own risk as there will be no lifeguards on duty. “We’re only renting every other cabin because they’re duplex style so it will only be one family in a duplex there,” Standifer said.

Additional public health guidelines for park visitors include maintaining the proper distance from others while on hikes or during any other activities, visiting in small groups or with current household members, packing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, avoiding crowded trails or areas and staying home if experiencing symptoms.

During the closure, full-time employees have been working to keep the park ready for its reopening and the park is now seeking additional applicants for seasonal positions. Available positions include lifeguards, retail workers, housekeeping, maintenance and ticket sales.

Seasonal employment applications can be picked up at the drive-thru window of the Davis City Hall, located at 227 E Main or at the Turner Falls Park.

Before planning a visit, individuals should check the Turner Falls Facebook page or website, at turnerfallspark.com to make sure there is still availability at the park and for any further updates.

“They need to check our website because when we reach the levels that we’ve decided we’ll shut it off right then and we’ll post it immediately on the Turner Falls Facebook page and also on our website,” Standifer said.