Wisconsin state parks adjust hours, operations

Coronavirus

MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin DNR is modifying current operations at state parks in accordance with public health guidelines and safety recommendations to provide a safe environment for visitors and staff.

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Starting Saturday, May 23, all state park system properties will return to regular operating hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., every day. Properties will no longer be closed Wednesdays.

A limited number of day-use area restrooms will reopen for public use beginning Wednesday, June 3. The DNR says visitors are reminded to plan ahead as well as bring hand sanitizer in the event it isn’t available at facilities.

All campsites will remain closed through June 7 and all events and shelter reservations will also be canceled through June 7. Permit and reservations holders will be contacted and provided a full refund. The status of events, reservations, and camping after June 7 is under review, according to the DNR.

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Rock Island State Park is closed to all use, including camping, until July 1. According to the ferry operator, ferry service to and from the island is on hold until further notice due to high lake levels and pending guidelines for both State Park and vessel operations during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The following properties will remain closed for the health and safety of the public, staff, and property integrity:

  • Dells of The Wisconsin River State Natural Area
  • Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area
  • Parfrey’s Glen state Natural area
  • Pewits Nest state Natural area

The DNR says they will continue to turn the dial on additional outdoor recreation opportunities, amenities, and services at our state park system properties. Visitors are also encouraged to wear face coverings in situations where social distancing may be difficult. This may apply to outdoor spaces as well.

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Officials say an annual park sticker or trail pass is required to visit state parks and trails that can be purchased online or by calling 1-888-305-0398 daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Temporary capacity restrictions will be put into place as needed to manage admissions and overcrowding at properties, according to the DNR. Attractions at which social distancing cannot be achieved are closed at various properties. All other facilities currently closed such as towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, entrance stations, and concession buildings remain closed to the public.

Over 30 state parks reopened on May 1 after being closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

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