Home covid State Parks to open Friday — with restrictions

State Parks to open Friday — with restrictions


Governor Tony Evers today directed the Department of Natural Resources to re-open several state parks, forests, and recreational areas originally closed due to unprecedented crowds and out of an abundance of caution to protect public health, according to a press release from the Governor’s office. The DNR will reopen 34 state parks and forests on May 1, 2020 under special conditions to help minimize overcrowding, allow for social distancing requirements, and to promote a safe and enjoyable experience for staff and visitors.

Admission stickers will be required, but will not be for sale at the parks. Annual stickers will be available for purchase with credit card by phone 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. seven days a week by calling toll free: 1-888-305-0398. Stickers are $28 for state residents, $13 for state residents 65 or older and $38 for out-of-state residents. Stickers will be mailed, but if you buy a sticker over the phone you will also get a proof-of-purchase by email, which can be used to gain admittance to the parks until your sticker arrives.

Many of the more popular parks may institute limits on the number of visitors who can be in the park at the same time.

Restrooms and other buildings will remain closed. Fishing, hunting and boating remain open with normal seasons.

Camping remains closed until May 26.

Most state parks will be open from 6 am to 7 pm every day. Parks are usually open until 11 pm.

Some parks, including Northern Forests, Flowages, Lower Wisconsin Riverway, and Wild Rivers will be open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.  Specific properties listed below.

    • Black River State Forest
    • Brule River State Forest
    • Chippewa Flowage
    • Flambeau River State Forest
    • Governor Earl Peshtigo River State Forest
    • Governor Knowles State Forest
    • Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
    • Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest
    • Pike Wild River
    • Pine-Popple Wild River
    • Turtle Flambeau Flowage
    • Willow Flowage

Gibraltar Rock state natural area, Pewit’s Nest state natural area, Parfrey’s Glen state natural area and Dells of The Wisconsin River state natural area will all remain closed.

“Outdoor recreation is important for both physical and mental health, and I know how important it is to Wisconsinites to get outside and enjoy Wisconsin’s natural resources and spring weather,” Evers said in a statement. “With a few adjustments, like closing one day a week for maintenance and reduced hours of operation, folks should be able to get outside and enjoy our parks safely and respectfully.”  

“Amid the immense uncertainty of this crisis, we are very fortunate to have such beautiful spaces in which to ease our minds and take care of ourselves,” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said in a statement. “I am glad that we are able to reopen these spaces with new safety guidelines, so that people can enjoy our state parks and forests while we continue to prioritize public health and safety.”