Overcrowding problems force Missouri to temporarily close some state parks

Local News

A scenic overlook at Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, MO at the Lake of the Ozarks.

MISSOURI, (Missourinet).– To address overcrowding problems over the weekend, Missouri is temporarily closing four state parks and partially closing another one. A press release says the state parks closing are Castlewood, Elephant Rocks, Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site and Park, and Weston Bend. St. Joe State Park will close the off-road vehicle riding area.

The changes take effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday and will continue until April 30.

During a Capitol press conference Monday, Gov. Mike Parson said he was disappointed some state park visitors over the weekend were not following social distancing rules of remaining six feet apart and limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Carol Comer says gates to individual parking lots may close at all state parks when the lot reaches capacity.

“We’re continuing to evaluate the situation and make adjustments to operations as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves,” says Carol Comer, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “As conditions and recommendations change, we will make additional closures as needed.”

If you want to head outside, park officials say you can still enjoy the many open spaces in your local community while limiting travel.

“We understand the importance of physical activity and getting outside during this unprecedented time,” says Mike Sutherland, director of DNR’s Division of State Parks. “However, we have to make changes to operations at some facilities, due to overcrowding, to ensure public safety.”

Park visitors are encouraged to check mostateparks.com for advisory updates and the latest actions before heading out to a state park.

Copyright © 2020 · Missourinet

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