Iowa DNR closes state parks to camping, only open for day-use amid COVID-19 outbreak

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced new changes to state park operations, including the closing of campgrounds for recreational use through April 30.

Iowa State Parks are still open for day-use only and those areas include:

  • Roads
  • Trails
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Streams, including shorelines
  • Boat ramps and access points
  • Open spaces, like grassy areas

The DNR said it’s highest priority is the health and well-being of their employes, visitors, and volunteers.

They also ask that you remember to be careful and responsible when visiting state parks by:

  • Keeping the distance between you and other park visitors at six feet.
  • Avoid popular areas where people may congregate such as scenic overlooks, buildings, busy trails, etc.
  • Bring your own hand sanitizer and soap and use them frequently.
  • Stay home if you have been sick in the last two weeks, cover coughs, and sneezes.

The following facilities are currently closed in the state parks:

  • Bathrooms, including pit latrines and port-a-potties. No soap or sanitizer will be available in the park.
  • Campgrounds and group/youth camps for recreational use
  • Playgrounds
  • Cabins
  • Lodges and shelters
  • Visitor centers and museums

All programs and events at the state parks are canceled or postponed through at least April 20 and for the latest updates click here.

The Iowa DNR is monitoring the situation, and as conditions change, their policies on park visitation and overnight stays may change.

They will also keep the public informed of any changes moving forward.

If you have reservations for the month of May and feel that canceling your stay is the safest choice, the Iowa DNR will waive the cancellation fee for visits (cabins, campsites, lodges, shelters) with arrival dates through May 31.

A transaction fee of $4 dollars ($6 dollars for reservations originally made by phone) will still apply and to cancel your May reservation call 877-427-2757.

The Iowa DNR would like to thank you for your patients and flexibility. They appreciate your support of Iowa State Parks as everyone works together to keep everyone safe.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

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