Frequently Asked Questions Regarding MWCD Operations During COVID-19

May 18, 2020

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) prioritizes the safety and health of our community: the visitors we serve, our employees, volunteers, and neighbors. Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are committed to aligning operations with the orders/ recommendations of national, state, and local public health experts.

We have taken enhanced health and safety measures and you must follow all posted instructions while visiting MWCD facilities.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

By visiting MWCD Facilities, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

Information will be updated frequently to adapt to the continually evolving situation. 

Are the Main Offices Open? 

The MWCD Main Office, and Annex buildings located in New Philadelphia reopened to the public on Tuesday, May 12. The offices will be open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please note that pre-arranged appointments are strongly encouraged. This will allow us to limit the number of guests in the building at one time and ensure that the staff member you seek to visit is available. Some of our staff continue teleworking as recommended by the Governor. Face coverings are recommended while you visit our offices. Our staff continues to follow vigorous guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing to ensure the safety of our staff, and our visitors. 

Are Park Offices and Marina’s open?

The park offices and marina's re-opened on May 8, 2020. Bait, and fuel sales have also resumed. If you plan to enter one of our facilities, social distancing must be followed, and face coverings are strongly encouraged. Visitors who are sick, or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, (see should not enter our buildings. Signage will be on the front door indicating the total number of people permitted to occupy that retail space at one time. This number includes our staff. Also, as a reminder, we have developed special procedures to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained for boat rentals and fueling. Look for signage at the marinas upon your arrival regarding these procedures. Our staff continues to follow vigorous guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing to ensure the safety of our staff, and our visitors. 

When will MWCD campgrounds re-open for everyone? 

May 21, 2020 camping is permitted to resume to everyone. Restrooms and shower buildings will also open on this date. 

Can I have visitors at my campsite? 

Only one family household may occupy each site. Visitors are not permitted at this time.

What measures are you taking to disinfect public spaces, such as restrooms/shower buildings?

We are following guidance from the CDC, which recommends regular cleaning and sanitation as one of the most important preventive measures we can take to protect the camper community. We are disinfecting our facilities regularly throughout each day, focusing especially on high-touch and high-traffic surfaces such as doors and door handles, bathroom surfaces, dispensers, sinks, handrails and light switches.

If my reservation was canceled due to the Corona Virus or I cancel my reservation due to the virus, will I receive a refund?

Yes, refunds will be provided in full. Contact the park or marina directly where the reservation was made.

Are the cabins available to rent?

Cabin reservations resumed on Friday, May 15 at Atwood, Clendening, Piedmont and Tappan Lakes. The cabins at Seneca Lake Park are set to re-open on May 22. The opening for the newly constructed cabins at Pleasant Hill Lake Park remains on hold as the delivery of furnishings has been suspended due to COVID-19. We hope to have an announcement soon on these cabins at Pleasant Hill. Additional cleaning will be implemented between reservations as recommended by the CDC at our cabins.

Are trails available for hiking?

Yes, trails are open! Please note that due to rain and flooding the trails are muddy in some areas, and access may be limited due to high water.

Are swim beaches open?

Swim beaches will be open Atwood, Charles Mill, Pleasant Hill, Seneca and Tappan Lake Parks on Friday, May 22. All beaches will operate under the guidelines of swim at your own risk. No lifeguards will be on duty, and no water toys will be installed at Atwood, Seneca, and Tappan Lake Parks. Please maintain social distancing in these areas!

Are boat swim areas open?

Boat swim areas are open at all lakes. Please maintain social distancing while anchored in these areas!

Are playgrounds or sports courts open?

Our playgrounds and sports courts opened June 10. Use cautiously at your own risk. Playgrounds will be routinely sanitized. Bring your own equipment for the sports courts. 

Are shelters/ picnic pavilions open?

No- due to limitations on public gatherings, shelters and picnic pavilions remain closed. 

Can I get a fishing license or register my boat at an MWCD marina?

Yes, now that marinas are open, these services have resumed.  

Can I fish along the shoreline of the lakes?

Yes, fishing along the shoreline is permitted on public property.

Are the boat launch ramps open?

Yes, the boat launch ramps are open.  

Are fishing tournaments permitted during the Stay at Home Order?

Beginning May 26, 2020, the State of Ohio has authorized sports leagues to permit activities for low or non-contact sports which would include fishing tournaments. 

The grant of this Permit is conditioned upon permit holder following all state recommended and mandated social distancing and sector-specific operating requirements issued by the Ohio Department of Health.  Permit holder is required to monitor, review, and follow all requirements published at  Permit holder is responsible to ensure its members or participants comply with any orders. Failure to follow any orders or guidelines, in the discretion of the MWCD, will result in the cancellation of this Permit. 

Are the rangers patrolling MWCD lands?

Yes, Rangers are still patrolling, and providing aid to the public.

Which facilities are not MWCD operated?

The MWCD has several leased operations throughout the district. For questions regarding operations at the following facilities, please reach out to these privately-operated businesses directly, as the answers may be different for these locations:

  • Atwood Lake Marinas (East and West)
  • Atwood Lake Lighthouse Bistro (located at the West Marina)
  • Atwood Dock Restaurant (located at the East Marina)
  • Charles Mill Marina
  • Leesville Lake Marinas (North and South)
  • Leesville Lake Northfork Campground
  • Pleasant Hill Marina
  • Seneca Lake-Dockside Restaurant
  • Seneca Lake- Boat Sales and Service by Ohio Valley Boats
  • Tappan Lake- Latitude 40 Restaurant
  • Tappan Lake- Boat Sales and Service by Ohio Valley Boats

Will the seasonal camper lotteries be held?

The lottery for seasonal campers was completed on May 16, 2020 via the phone.  

If the campground/marina remains closed after my permit starts will I receive a refund for seasonal camping/docking days that are missed?

Now that restrictions have been lifted for seasonal camping and docking, a pro-rated refund for the number of days you are unable to camp or dock at MWCD operated facilities due to restrictions put in place by the Ohio Department of Health as a result of COVID-19 are being calculated. A process for issuing refunds is currently under consideration. An update will be provided soon.

Under normal circumstances, seasonal camping permits begin April 1, and seasonal docking permits begin April 15.

If I am a seasonal camper who has opted into the payment plan, can I have an extension on my payment?

Payments for those utilizing the seasonal payment plan have been extended by 30 days. The new due dates are as follows: May 15, July 15, and September 15.


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