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Pandemic means usual Memorial Day weekend spots may not be open
caswell memorial
Park visitors enjoy one of the beaches along the Stanislaus River at Caswell State Park during a previous Memorial Day weekend.

Now that things have partially reopened, plans for Memorial Day Weekend are officially on the table again.

But while the State of California has delegated the responsibility for safely reopening the economy back onto the counties that know what works best for their individual circumstances, not every recreational opportunity is going to be on the table for the first long weekend of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Here are some local places that are open for outdoor recreation, and some that still have some time before they’ll be welcoming visitors:

*Caswell State Memorial Park – Located just outside of Manteca’s city limits, this old growth oak grove along the Stanislaus River at the end of Austin Road is one of the hidden gems of the California State Park System. Shaded by towering oak trees and lush with vegetation that has in the past served as a jungle backdrop for Hollywood. But while the destination is usually a popular one with people looking to camp without having to drive very far, that won’t be an option for Memorial Day Weekend. The park, however, remains open for day use from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and still allows for day use parking, trail usage, and river access. There are no group picnics allowed at the park specifically, and throughout the State of California there is currently no camping, high-use indoor facilities, or special events or gatherings allowed inside of any State Park facility.

The park is requesting that people stay close to home if possible and walk or bike into the park if they have the ability to do so to save the limited parking spaces contained inside the park’s boundaries. Those visiting the Stanislaus River for Memorial Day Weekend should use caution because of high water flows and cold temperatures.

*Woodward Reservoir – With the mercury expected to inch towards the century mark, cooling off in the lake is a popular pastime over Memorial Day Weekend – which is commonly referred to as the start of summer. But local people will have to drive a bit further up the road if they’re for that kind of recreation as the Stanislaus County Parks and Recreation Department isn’t planning on opening the reservoir – which is used as a holding facility for water that ends up in the irrigation canals managed by South San Joaquin Irrigation District – until June 6. And even when it opens, people from Manteca won’t be able to go there at first as restrictions have already been announced limiting usage to Stanislaus County residents only – reinforcing elements of the shelter in place orders that prohibit traveling across county lines for non-essential purposes.

*Dos Reis and Mossdale Crossing Regional Park – While you may not be able to have a barbecue at these parks along the San Joaquin River this Memorial Day Weekend, you can go there to launch your boat. This week the San Joaquin County Parks Department opened up both of the Lathrop access points to the river to allow people to enjoy the San Joaquin River Delta this holiday weekend. While launching facilities, restrooms, single family picnic tables are going open for the weekend, overnight camping, playgrounds, horseshoe pits, the BBQ area, drinking fountains, and water play areas are all going to be closed to the public. Officials ask that people only gather with members of their own family and to avoid large groups. Both parks will be open from 8 a.m. until 30 minutes before sunset.


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.