The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to reopen its campgrounds in a phased approach starting June 1.
Campgrounds include those at state parks, state forests and recreation areas managed by the DNR. Public and private campgrounds may also reopen beginning June 1, if they create a preparedness plan and follow Minnesota campground guidelines.
“We look forward to welcoming overnight visitors back to DNR-managed camping and lodging facilities in June,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “Our staff are already out conducting assessments of campsite conditions and preparing to receive visitors.”
Due to limited on-site parks and trails staff during the stay-at-home order, the DNR said it has a lot of work left to get campgrounds and lodging ready for overnight visitors.
Dispersed camping in state forests is already allowed. The DNR anticipates the following timeline:
- May 22: The DNR will open 75 remote campsites in state parks for use on Memorial Day weekend, most of which had existing reservations. Another 80 remote sites are expected to be ready by May 29.
- June 1: The DNR anticipates having about 20-30 of its campgrounds within state parks, recreation areas and forest campgrounds ready to open, with limited services. Some lodging options, such as camper cabins and yurts, will also open on June 1. In general, visitors can expect that water systems will be turned on, grounds will be maintained, and vault toilets/porta-toilets will be available. However, some value-added services may not be ready or available at that point, such as showers and ranger stations.
- June 8: The DNR will reopen another 20-30 campgrounds and lodging facilities, the rest of its remote campsites, and many of its ranger stations.
- June 15: The DNR plans to have the rest of the campgrounds open and most areas with full services. The Mary Gibbs Cafe at Itasca State Park, some nature stores, and ancillary buildings such as fish cleaning facilities and picnic shelters with reduced capacities will be reopened where possible.
Campers should come prepared with their own hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, paper towels, toilet paper and other supplies for use at their campsites and available bathrooms, a news release said.
Beaches, pond-pools, housekeeping cabins, visitor centers, group centers, fire towers and large-group facilities will remain closed until further notice. Group tours and other scheduled interpretive programs will not be held.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Minnesotans are encouraged to:
- Travel as directly to their destination as possible, and minimize stops along the way.
- Attempt to bring all needed supplies with them.
- If they do need to stop for gas or supplies, wear a cloth face covering.
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces.
- Do not travel if sick.
Visitors are advised to check dnr.state.mn.us/covid-19 for the latest information about facility status and reopening timelines.