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State parks open campgrounds for recreation

The Wisconsin DNR will reopen state campgrounds Wednesday, June 10, with special conditions to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. Some changes campers and park visitors will experience include, automatic touchless checkin and new signs to educate visitors on recreating responsibly, while park offices will remain closed to the public.

Camping reservations will be accepted by phone and online only, to eliminate face-to-face interaction with DNR staff. Same-day camping reservations are also now available by phone and the online reservation system.

Check-in is no longer necessary at the office or visitor station when coming to a property. Campers can proceed directly to their campsite and begin setup. Property staff will visit sites to monitor occupancy.

Group camping, shelters and amphitheaters will be closed through June 30. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided a full refund.

Most restrooms at state properties are now open. Some remote water fountains may be closed in the day use area of the park, or have the bubbler turned off and have access to the water spigot only. All other facilities will remain closed, including towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, contact stations and concessions.

However, equipment rentals are unavailable at this time.

Firewood is not available at state parks at this time and should be purchased before campers arrive. Campers are reminded that certified firewood that has been properly heattreated or aged to kill any infesting pests, or diseases, to protect Wisconsin’s trees, must be purchased within 10 miles of their camping location.

Annual park stickers and trail passes, are required to visit state parks and trails. Annual stickers are available for purchase online or with credit card by phone, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

Annual trail and daily passes are NOT available for purchase at individual properties. Visitors must have an annual admission sticker adhered to their vehicle or proof of purchase for entry.

Once proof of purchase is shown, visitors must place proof of purchase on the dash of the windshield while parked within the boundary of the property. The 2020 annual vehicle admission sticker is valid through Dec. 31.

An annual state trail pass is required for anyone age 16 or older biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding or in-line skating on certain trails. A state trail pass is NOT required for walking or hiking. The annual trail passes are valid through Dec. 31, of the year they are issued.

Because of high demand, many properties will likely reach their pre-determined capacity limits. When this happens, properties will close until existing visitors leave and capacity is reduced.

Visitors are encouraged to explore other DNR recreation areas or visit during non-peak hours, before 10 a.m., and after 4 p.m. Popular attractions within state parks, including beaches, where social distancing cannot be achieved, may close as needed.

All events and special event permits are canceled through June 30.

Volunteer activities will also follow the Badger Bounce Back plan and be permitted on a case-by-case basis, depending on group size and whether the activity can be done maintaining 6 feet of space between volunteers.

The DNR urges state park visitors to do their part when visiting DNR properties. Most Wisconsin state parks, forests and other day-use areas, do not have garbage or recycling bins. When visiting, take your garbage and recyclables home with you.

Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing of 6 feet, refrain from congregating in large groups, travel only within home communities, and follow all existing state park rules and guidelines. Visitors are also encouraged to wear masks in situations where social distancing is difficult.