News Flash

Wright County News

Posted on: May 1, 2020

Wright County Campgrounds to Remain Closed Through May 17

May is the time of year when the first glimpses of summer start showing up in Minnesota. People congregate outdoors and take the numerous lakes and parks that dot the landscape of the state.

But, due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of those activities have been forced to change. When Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz extended his stay at home through May 18, it included maintaining restrictions on public gatherings, which includes campgrounds.

In Wright County, campgrounds are an important part of the county’s parks system and one of the most popular attractions during the spring and summer. The campgrounds were initially scheduled to open today (May 1), but when the last extension to the stay at home order came day, the opening date was pushed back to May 7. With yesterday’s announcement, the opening was pushed back to May 17.

Wright County Parks & Recreation Director Marc Mattice said he had hoped that parks systems around the state could have opened on a limited basis with social distancing measures being adhered to, but didn’t get the news he was hoping for.

“I’m disappointed,” Mattice said. “Our campgrounds are popular and people enjoy using them. I had hoped that we could have opened on a limited capacity for fully contained units and keep our communal facilities closed. But, that did not occur, so we’re doing what we’re directed to do.”

Although Walz hinted that, based on the results of loosening some of the restrictions, there is the potential that campgrounds could be added to the list of activities and businesses that are allowed to gradually resume before the stay at home order deadline comes. But, until he hears otherwise, Mattice said the campgrounds will be ready to open, but remain closed. 

“We’ll continue to delay our campground opening until May 17,” Mattice said. “We will continue as planned to open on May 18. We will be contacting everybody who had a campground reservation through that time period and give them the option of a full refund or an opportunity to reschedule.”

Mattice pointed out that the campground closure has nothing to do with the parks system being closed. The parks have been used extensively during the current stay at home order because, while people are discouraged from congregating in large numbers, they are being told to get outside, exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

“The stay at home order still promotes outdoor activities and the use of parks,” Mattice said. “That includes boating, hiking, biking and picnicking. All of our parks will remain open for those activities. We are going to work on getting our picnic tables spread apart throughout our system in our picnic areas, adding extra garbage facilities and continuing to have people stay six feet apart.”

The Parks & Recreation Department has already announced that all scheduled programs the department runs have been canceled for the entire month of May and that June activities will remain in limbo until the guidance from the state allows them to resume.

It’s not how he wanted the start of the summer recreation season to begin, but Mattice said his department will be prepared to open when the law allows for it.

“Our campgrounds will be ready to go on May 18 if the governor allows us to open at the time or if he lifts some of the restrictions during this two-week period,” Mattice said. “Our buildings are ready. Our campground managers have the grounds ready and will continue to maintain them to be ready to go. We’re just waiting for the word that we can open.”

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