MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Governor Tony Evers has ordered the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to close 40 state parks, forests, and recreational areas “to protect public health and safety and help flatten the curve.

According to a Thursday morning release, Gov. Evers says the decision was made “due to unprecedented crowds, litter, [and] vandalism” and made “out of an abundance of caution.”

Affected state parks, forests, and recreational areas will close at the end of the day Thursday, April 9, and will remain closed until further notice.

High Cliff State Park in Sherwood is among the 40 affected properties. Here are the other parks, forests, and recreational areas that will close:

Southeast Region:

  • Big Foot Beach State Park
  • Harrington Beach State Park
  • Havenwoods State Forest
  • Kohler-Andrae State Park
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lapham Peak
  • Loew Lake
  • Mukwonago River, Northern Unit
  • Pike Lake, Southern Unit
  • Lakeshore State Park
  • Richard Bong State Recreational Area

South Central Region:

  • Aztalan State Park
  • Belmont Mound State Park
  • Blue Mound State Park
  • Cadiz Springs State Recreational Area
  • Capital Springs State Recreational Area
  • Cross Plains State Park
  • Devil’s Lake State Park
  • Fenley State Recreational Area
  • Governor Dodge State Park
  • Governor Nelson State Park
  • Lake Kegonsa State Park
  • Lower Wisconsin Riverway
  • Mackenzie Center
  • Mirror Lake State Park
  • Natural Bridge State Park
  • Nelson Dewey State Park
  • New Glarus Woods State Park
  • Rocky Arbor State Park
  • Sauk Prairie State Recreational Area
  • Tower Hill State Park
  • Wyalusing State Park
  • Yellowstone Lake State Park
  • Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area,
  • Pewits Nest State Natural Area
  • Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area
  • Dells of The Wisconsin River State Natural Area

“I wanted to keep state parks open for the public to enjoy during this challenging time which is why outdoor activity is listed as an essential activity under the Safer at Home order,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “Unfortunately, growing difficulty with ensuring social distancing compliance, dwindling cleaning supplies and mounting trash are some of the challenges faced by our state parks staff. We have to address the growing public health and safety concern and protect Wisconsinites.”

Fees to get into these state-owned areas had previously been waived. The DNR was encouraging visitors to continue practicing social distancing and to only visit parks close to home rather than traveling to different regions of the state.