Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he is directing the state's Department of Natural Resources to close 40 state parks and recreational areas in a bid to curb the spread of the CCP virus.
Evers said the order was issued because of "unprecedented crowds, litter, [and] vandalism." The order will go into effect at the end of Thursday, April 9, he said.
“I wanted to keep state parks open for the public to enjoy during this challenging time which is why outdoor activity is listed as an essential activity under the Safer at Home order,” said Evers in a news release sent to local news outlets. “Unfortunately, growing difficulty with ensuring social distancing compliance, dwindling cleaning supplies and mounting trash are some of the challenges faced by our state parks staff. We have to address the growing public health and safety concern and protect Wisconsinites.”
Preston D. Cole, the head of the state natural resources agency, added that "with the weather warming we are seeing increases in visitors and a myriad of challenges surrounding social distancing. In order to protect the public, this is a necessary step."
Parks that are being closed included High Cliff State Park, Big Foot Beach State Park, Harrington Beach State Park, Havenwoods State Forest, Kohler-Andrae State Park, Kettle Moraine State Forest Lapham Peak, Loew Lake, Mukwonago River, Northern Unit, Pike Lake, Southern Unit, Lakeshore State Park, and Richard Bong State Recreational Area, according to the news release.
Other parks affected by Evers' order include Aztalan State Park, Belmont Mound State Park, Blue Mound State Park, Cadiz Springs State Recreational Area, Capital Springs State Recreational Area, Cross Plains State Park, Devil’s Lake State Park, Fenley State Recreational Area, Governor Dodge State Park, Governor Nelson State Park, Lake Kegonsa State Park, Lower Wisconsin Riverway, Mackenzie Center, Mirror Lake State Park, Natural Bridge State Park, Nelson Dewey State Park, New Glarus Woods State Park, Rocky Arbor State Park, Sauk Prairie State Recreational Area, Tower Hill State Park, Wyalusing State Park, Yellowstone Lake State Park, Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area, Pewits Nest State Natural Area, Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area, and Dells of The Wisconsin River State Natural Area.