DNR: Wisconsin state campgrounds reopen June 10 with special conditions

MADISON — Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials plan to re-open state campgrounds June 10.

The department has kept campgrounds closed since March to slow the spread of the new coronavrius. The DNR announced Thursday, June 4 that state campgrounds will re-open June 10 as infection rates trend downward.

Park offices will remain closed, however, and campers can expect to find automatic touchless check-ins.

Reservations will be accepted by phone at 1-888-947-2757 and online to eliminate interaction with DNR staff. Group camping, shelters and amphitheaters will remain closed through June 30.

Most restrooms at state properties are now open although some water fountains remain shut down.

Firewood will not be available at the campgrounds so campers should bring their own, making sure they purchase it within 10 miles of the campground and the wood has been certified pest- and disease-free.

In a news release Thursday, DNR officials offered the below information for campers:

RESERVATIONS

  • Camping reservations will be accepted by phone (1-888-947-2757) and online only to eliminate face to face interaction with DNR staff.
  • Same-day camping reservations are also now available by phone (1-888-947-2757) and the online reservation system.
  • Check-in is no longer necessary at the office or visitor station when coming to a property. Please proceed directly to your campsite and begin setup. Property staff will visit sites to monitor occupancy.
  • Campers should note that Rock Island State Park remains closed through June 30. The Washington Island Ferry Line has also currently suspended all trips to and from Rock Island.
  • Camping reservations for June 8 or 9 will be canceled and refunded; if reservations for a longer stay begin on June 8/9 and extend beyond June 10 your arrival will automatically be adjusted to June 10.

GROUP CAMPING, SHELTER, AND AMPHITHEATERS   

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

RESTROOMS AND BUILDINGS

  • 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.
  • Equipment rentals are unavailable at this time.

FIREWOOD

  • 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 heat-treated or aged to kill any infesting pests or diseases to protect Wisconsin’s trees must be purchased within 10 miles of their camping location

ADMISSION

  • 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. – 4 p.m. seven days a week by calling toll free: 1-888-305-0398.
  • 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, 2020.
  • 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.

CAPACITY AND CLOSURES

  • Due to 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.
  • The following State Natural Areas remain closed: Pewits Nest, Parfrey’s Glen, Dells of the Wisconsin River, Gibraltar Rock.
  • Popular attractions within state parks, including beaches, where social distancing cannot be achieved may close as needed.

EVENTS

  • All events and special event permits are canceled through June 30.
  • Volunteer activities will also follow the 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.

DNR officials urged 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 you visit, please 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. Fight the Bite! Ticks are out, and visitors should take precautions to prevent Lyme Disease.

Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing of 6 feet, refrain from congregating in large groups, travel only within your 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.

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