Wisconsin DNR: State parks to resume hours, bathrooms open next month
MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is modifying current operations to maintain the safest environment for visitors and staff, they announced Friday.
Beginning Saturday, May 23, all Wisconsin state park system properties will return to regular operating hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Properties will no longer be closed Wednesdays.
In addition, a limited number of day-use area restrooms at park properties will reopen for public use beginning Wednesday, June 3. Visitors are reminded to plan ahead as well as bring hand sanitizer in the event it is not available at facilities.
All group, family and indoor group campsites will remain closed through June 7. All events and shelter reservations will also be canceled through June 7. Permit and reservation holders will be contacted and provided a full refund. The status of events, reservations and camping after June 7 is currently under review.
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 priority continues to be the safety and health of our visitors and staff and the DNR continues to ask the public to stay close to home, practice social distancing, frequently wash their hands, and only travel for necessity.
The DNR 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.
Reminders if you plan on visiting a state park over Memorial Day Weekend:
- An annual park sticker or trail pass is required to visit state parks and trails which can be purchased online or by calling 1-888-305-0398 daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- All restrooms are closed through June 2
- Temporary capacity restrictions will be put into place as needed to manage admissions and overcrowding at properties.
- Attractions at which social distancing cannot be achieved are closed at various properties; visit the park notices webpage for information about ongoing closures.
- All other facilities currently closed such as towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, entrance stations and concession buildings remain closed to the public.
- Fight the Bite! Ticks are out, and visitors should take precautions to prevent Lyme Disease.
- The DNR urges visitors to do their part when visiting state parks. Most Wisconsin state parks, forests and other day-use areas do not have garbage or recycling bins. When you visit, you will need to take your garbage and recyclables home with you. We all play a vital role in taking care of our natural resources. Following the Leave No Trace principles helps protect the land for generations to come.
The DNR continues to receive the most up-to-date information and will adjust operations as conditions change. The DNR will continue to monitor on-the-ground circumstances each day to determine if additional changes may become necessary. Before visiting other properties, please check with individual parks regarding changes to park operations.