Wisconsin state officials reopened 34 state parks on Friday that have been closed, most of them in the southern portion of the state.
The southern parks had been closed in recent weeks after throngs of people converged on them, ignoring the state’s safer-at-home COVID-19 order by not social distancing.
With last Saturday’s general fishing opener, all anglers and recreational boaters are asked to practice social distancing and keep travel to a minimum by recreating in their own community.
In addition to reopening the parks, the Department of Natural Resources clarified rules for using all state parks, including those in the north that remain open.
An annual park sticker and/or trail pass will be required to visit state parks and trails. Annual stickers will be available for purchase with credit card by phone 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week by calling 888-305-0398. Annual 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.
State parks and forests will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, a change from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Properties will be closed to the public every Wednesday for maintenance and upkeep.
Northern state forests, flowages and wild rivers will be open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Those include the Brule River State Forest, Chippewa Flowage, Flambeau River State Forest and the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in northwestern Wisconsin.
Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area, Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area, Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area and the Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area will remain closed.
Restrooms at all state properties will be closed. This includes the closure of restrooms on properties currently open to the public. All other facilities will remain closed: towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, contact stations and concession buildings.
Camping, group camps and shelters will remain closed statewide until May 26, except that a few remote, backpack and boat-in campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis at Brule River State Forest, Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area and Flambeau River State Forest, among others.
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.