State-Beach Parking Lots, Campgrounds Reopen

NBC 7 Responds' Consumer Bob found that lack of parking was a major issue for many people who wanted to go to state beaches when they reopened

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Parking lots at some of San Diego's most popular beaches are beginning to reopen. It's good news for people who don't live nearby and/or paid for the annual state parking pass.

"It's been sad to see the gate and feel like you're shut out of the beach," said college teacher Annette Aagard, who's a parking passholder.

But parking lots are not the only part reopening. Today campsites, at 28 state parks were reopened for partial use. Those campsites are at parks that include Palomar Mountain State Park, and the San Elijo, San Onofre, Silver Strand and South Carlsbad state beaches.

"Visitors can anticipate that they may see reduced availability of amenities such as fire rings, barbecues, camp stores, playgrounds and group-picnicking facilities," stated the coronavirus section on the state-park system's website. "Please check the park unit’s webpage for more information on available facilities."

Reopening is not the only good news for the 7,000 San Diegans who buy the nearly $200 pass each year, which grants them unlimited parking at state parks and beaches, which were closed in mid-March: The state parks department has extended the expensive passes. Any that expired during the closure will be honored through September, and active passes will have three additional months tacked on to their lifespan.

"It wasn't our fault that the beaches were closed and we paid the money," Aagard said, adding, "I think it's the right thing to do for all of us who spent the money on these passes."

Luanne Edwards bought her pass just three days before the parking lots closed. She hadn't heard about the extension until NBC 7 Responds told her.

"I love it," Edwards said. "You are a ray of sunshine for me this morning because these are expensive."

The state parks department recommends you check the specific area's web page before you visit. For more information on policies to limit the spread of the coronavirus at state parks, visit their website.

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