Extreme social distancing: How the great outdoors can help right now

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo- With orders to “stay at home” and no gatherings of more than ten, people are getting cabin fever.

One alternative to staying at your home for an extended period of time is to go camping.

Several state parks have closed their campgrounds until April 30th, but some non-state campgrounds around the Ozarks are still open.

One of those campgrounds is Hootentown in Crane, Missouri.

“It’s just been just so depressing with the rain and the clouds, and you know with the way things are right now, the sun is healing,” says the owner of Hootentown, Diana Newman.

She’s received a lot of calls from people about wanting to camp and has told them, yes, but to not float due to high water levels. She says a lot of families want to get their kids out to enjoy the weather.

Almost 500 miles south is a family from Missouri who is taking an extended camping trip.

Alisha Titus, from Brighton, is camping with her family near Grand Prarie, Texas, because of her husband’s temporary job.

They have been there for about a week but plan on staying there for another month or so.

She says camping with her family has been a great escape from the real world.

“I think it’s a good way to get out if you can find a place that’s open,” says Titus.

Both Titus and Newman pointed out a lot of camping restrictions that are happening.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources temporarily closed Missouri State Park campgrounds starting this past Friday because of COVID-19.

“This includes campgrounds, park-run lodging, and concessionaire-run lodging. Missouri State Parks will remain open to the public, including day-use areas, boat ramps, and trails,” says a press release issued last week.

To see the full list of campgrounds closed, click here.

There are still several places to go camping.

Ozarks First reached out to viewers on Facebook and found that a lot of people are going to Arkansas to camp, camping on their property if they have land, and even one person who has to stay in an RV because of her job.

Kali Blair commented on the post saying she is a nurse in the ICU at Cox and has to stay in an RV to protect her family.

“In case I contract the virus/bring it home. I can’t wait to hug and kiss my babies and hubs again,” she added in the post.

Some people are even eager to go camping so much they’ve been buying RV’s. Bryan Ainley with ABC Motors says in the past week, or so he has sold several RV’s. He’s sold them to people near – here in Missouri – and to people from far away – a couple who came down from Alaska. If it’s social distancing you want, you can’t do much better than camping in the great outdoors.

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