FORT LORAMIE — As Lake Loramie State Park reopens for Memorial Day weekend, campers can expect things to be a little different when they head out to the campgrounds.
“The biggest thing is, keeping in mind the social distancing,” Park Manager Jason Whitman said. “It’s just the new norm. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around this because we’re known for bringing people out to the parks to gather and have a great time. It can still happen; we just have to refocus a little bit and advise them to keep that social distancing between other parties. We’re just trying to get people accustomed to that mindset.”
Along with social distancing and “self-contained” camping to be expected between campers and campsites, walk-in campsites will not be offered. Instead, campers must register online at reserveohio.com or by calling 866-644-6727.
Restrooms and shower houses are limited, and overnight accommodations and amenities, such as cabins, getaway rentals, group camps, shelters, camp stores, pools and splash pads, will remain closed for the time being. As of Thursday, the camp office and store is closed for retail services such as ice, pop, candy and merchandise.
“It is a new norm for us, but I think we’ll get through it,” Whitman said. “Like anything, we’ll get through it, and we’ll make it work.”
Despite the new regulations in place to ensure the safety of campers and staff, as well as many events being postponed, Whitman is hopeful that Lake Loramie State Park will be able to offer some amenities and activities to campers. Fishing is still allowed, as well as hiking, and boating on the lake is permitted. Likewise, park staff are looking into ways to hold events for campers in the future and still be mindful of social distancing.
“It’s new to all of us, but I do foresee those kind of things, at least the smaller type of events, being able to happen. We just haven’t got that clarification through our department on how we are to proceed with that,” Whitman said. “In a nutshell, is it doable? I think so, to a degree, and doing it safely with some of these events.”
One of the most stressful parts of reopening the campgrounds has been trying to get everything in order with fewer staff members. Of the 15 people Whitman usually has to help maintain the campgrounds during the season, only three people — himself included — are working.
“It’s a slow process right now, trying to keep up with getting things maintained, such as the grass mowing. The weather has been a big factor this week,” Whitman said. “We cannot spend anything right now other than on COVID-19 related projects and things, so that limits our resources from doing what we need to do.”
Despite these limits, Whitman said he and his team are committed to providing great customer service to campers.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Whitman said of the 163 campsites available at Lake Loramie State Park, 150 of them are booked for Memorial Day weekend.
“[We’re] excited to see campers back this weekend. I know with all this going on, we’ve had a lot of fisherman and boaters in the lake and hikers using the trails, but the biggest thing, for me, will be seeing the campground come back to life,” Whitman said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.