The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will reopen its campgrounds at state parks, state forests and recreation areas in a phased approach beginning June 1. Gov. Tim Walz announced that public and private campgrounds may reopen beginning June 1, if they create a Preparedness Plan and follow campground guidelines.
State parks and recreation areas are like small cities that need to have all of their infrastructure restarted in order to reopen. This includes water, sewer, power, roads, trails and buildings.
During the Stay at Home Order, the DNR limited its on-site parks and trails workforce to only those employees most critical to support day-use activities, to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and allow time for critical public health preparations across Minnesota. While this was necessary to protect public health, as a result, the DNR now has a lot of work left to do to ready campgrounds and lodging for overnight visitors.
The DNR generally plans to open sites as soon as they are ready. Dispersed camping in state forests is already allowed, and DNR anticipates the following general timeline going forward:
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.
The DNR will leave the following facilities and amenities closed until further notice: beaches, pond-pools, housekeeping cabins, visitor centers, group centers, fire towers, large-group facilities (such as amphitheaters), group tours and other scheduled interpretive programs.
Visitors are advised to check the DNR’s COVID-19 website for the latest information about facility status and reopening timelines.