The Minnesota DNR has revealed the schedule for a phased reopening of its campgrounds ahead of the latest stage in the Walz Administration's coronavirus plan.
Walz on Wednesday said that public and private campgrounds can reopen starting June 1, including the many operated by the DNR in state parks and forests.
On Thursday, the DNR has said that the phased approach to reopening will start as soon as Friday, in time for Memorial Day weekend, as it opens as many as 75 "remote" campsites in state parks, with a further 80 following on Friday, May 29.
Until June 1, only "remote" or "dispersed" camping is allowed, ensuring significant distance is kept between campers, with no amenities open. After June 1 arrives, the full rollout begins.
"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. We will open as much as we can on June 1, but this will be a phased process based on staffing and safety considerations."
The DNR issued guidelines for private campgrounds opening on Wednesday, which you can find here.
Here's how DNR-run campgrounds will restart – you can find details for individual campgrounds by clicking "Make a Reservation" on the DNR camping finder.
May 22: The DNR will open 75 remote campsites in state parks for use on Memorial Day weekend, most of which had existing reservations.
May 29: 80 remote sites are expected to be ready to open.
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. Expect water systems to be turned on, grounds maintained, and vault toilets/porta-toilets be made available. However, some value-added services may not be ready or available at that point, such as showers and contact/ranger stations.
June 8: DNR will reopen another 20-30 campgrounds and lodging facilities, the rest of its remote campsites, and many of its contact/ranger stations.
June 15: The DNR plans to have the rest of the campgrounds open and most areas with full services. The Mary Gibbs Café 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.
The DNR is advising campers bring their own hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, paper towels, toilet paper and other supplies.
Beaches, pond-pools, visitor centers, fire towers, large-group facilities, and group tours will stay closed till further notice.
Minnesotans are also asked to follow these guidelines:
- Travel as directly to destination as possible, and minimize stops along the way.
- Attempt to bring all needed supplies with you.
- If you do need to stop for gas or supplies, wear a cloth face covering.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces (gas pumps, door handles, shared bathrooms, etc.).
- Do not travel if sick.