Gov. Evers Directs DNR to Reopen Several State Parks and Forests with Special Conditions

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers today directed the Department of Natural Resources to re-open several state parks, forests, and recreational areas originally closed due to unprecedented crowds and out of an abundance of caution to protect public health.

The DNR will reopen 34 state parks and forests on May 1, 2020 under special conditions to help minimize overcrowding, allow for social distancing requirements, and to promote a safe and enjoyable experience for staff and visitors.

"Outdoor recreation is important for both physical and mental health, and I know how important it is to Wisconsinites to get outside and enjoy Wisconsin's natural resources and spring weather," said Gov. Evers. "With a few adjustments, like closing one day a week for maintenance and reduced hours of operation, folks should be able to get outside and enjoy our parks safely and respectfully."

"Amid the immense uncertainty of this crisis, we are very fortunate to have such beautiful spaces in which to ease our minds and take care of ourselves," Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said. "I am glad that we are able to reopen these spaces with new safety guidelines, so that people can enjoy our state parks and forests while we continue to prioritize public health and safety."

Here are the latest Wisconsin state park property updates:


  • An annual park sticker and/or trail pass will be required to visit state parks and trails.
  • Annual stickers will be available for purchase with credit card by phone 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. seven days a week by calling toll free: 1-888-305-0398. We thank you in advance for your patience as we may be experiencing heavy call volumes.
  • Annual passes are NOT available for purchase at individual properties. Visitors must have an annual admission sticker adhered to their vehicle or proof of purchase for entry.
  • Once proof of purchase is shown, visitors must place proof of purchase on the dash of the windshield while parked within the boundary of the property.
  • The 2020 annual vehicle admission sticker is valid through Dec. 31, 2020.


  • State parks and forests will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, a change from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Properties will be closed to the public every Wednesday for maintenance and upkeep.
  • Northern Forests, Flowages, Lower Wisconsin Riverway, and Wild Rivers will be open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Specific properties listed below.
    • Black River State Forest
    • Brule River State Forest
    • Chippewa Flowage
    • Flambeau River State Forest
    • Governor Earl Peshtigo River State Forest
    • Governor Knowles State Forest
    • Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
    • Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest
    • Pike Wild River
    • Pine-Popple Wild River
    • Turtle Flambeau Flowage
    • Willow Flowage
  • Hunting and fishing will be allowed on all open properties in accordance with legal season structure and hours. Access to some areas may be limited to walk-in or water access only.
  • The following properties will remain closed for the health and safety of the public, staff, and property integrity:
    • Gibraltar Rock state natural area
    • Pewit's Nest state natural area
    • Parfrey's Glen state natural area
    • Dells of The Wisconsin River state natural area


  • DNR boat launches are open at open state properties.
  • All anglers and recreational boaters should practice social distancing and keep travel to a minimum.
  • If individuals can lawfully access Wisconsin's rivers and lakes, they are free to navigate upon them while engaging in outdoor recreation.


  • All linear/rail trails are open to the public, which includes ATV trails.
  • The Ice Age Trail remains open.
  • An annual state trail pass is required for anyone age 16 or older biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding or in-line skating on certain trails. A state trail pass is NOT required for walking or hiking. The annual trail passes are valid through Dec. 31 of the year they are issued.


  • Restrooms at all state properties will be closed. This includes the closure of restrooms on properties currently open to the public.
  • All other facilities will remain closed, including towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, contact stations and concession buildings.
  • Attractions where social distancing cannot be achieved will be closed as needed at various properties.


  • At times, many properties will likely reach their pre-determined safety capacity. When this happens, visitors may be denied entry to the park until existing visitors leave. Visitors are encouraged to explore other DNR recreation areas or visit during non-peak hours before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
  • State Parks likely to temporarily prohibit additional visitors include:
    • Copper Falls
    • Devil's Lake
    • Governor Dodge
    • Governor Nelson
    • Harrington Beach
    • Hartman Creek
    • High Cliff
    • Interstate
    • Kinnickinnic
    • Kettle Moraine Southern Unit
    • Lapham Peak
    • Perrot, Rib Mountain
    • Roche-a-Cri
    • Whitefish Dunes
    • Willow River


  • Camping, group camps and shelters will remain closed until May 26. Refunds will be issued to all customers.
  • Limited numbers of remote, backpack and boat-in campsites are available on a first-come first-serve basis. A list of some of the properties offering this type of camping include:
    • Brule River State Forest
    • Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area
    • Dunnville Wildlife Area
    • Flambeau River State Forest
    • Governor Earl Peshtigo River State Forest
    • Governor Knowles State Forest
    • Meadow Valley State Wildlife Area
    • Tiffany Wildlife Area
    • Van Loon State Wildlife Are
    • Willow Flowage
  • Volunteer activities remain suspended at DNR properties.
  • All events and special event permits are canceled until May 26.

The public should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

  • Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your face; and
  • Staying home.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you and the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

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Florence & Marinette County Set to Open May 1st

Two more counties are gearing up to open their ATV / UTV trails this weekend. Florence and Marinette County have posted up dates regarding the opening dates:

 Marinette County

Pete Villas, Marinette County Forestry Administrator
Subject: ATV Trail re-opening

The entire Marinette County ATV /UTV Trail System will be re-opened on May 1, 2020. The trail system was closed for spring break up and to allow for the trails to be cleared of downed trees and debris. Thank you for you cooperation while the trail system was closed.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, please follow the guidelines found in the Marinette County Outdoor Recreation Season Plan found on Marinette County's website in the Media Releases section under Administration.

Pete Villas, Marinette County Forestry Administrator

Marinette County Forestry Administrator... - Marinette County | Facebook

Marinette County Forestry Administrator Pete Villas - The entire Marinette County ATV/UTV Trail System will be re-opened on May 1, 2020.

 Florence County

​As posted on the Blue Ox Trail Riders website.

ATV Trails Opening

Florence County ATV trails will open on May 1st 2020 at 12:01 AM. Please use extreme caution, as there may still be spots that have ice and/or snow cover.

There will be some areas of trail in the USFS Property (Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest) that may have closures. Trails affected would be: Trail F7A - F14.

Please ride with caution as many sections of the trail system are still in very poor condition and keep an eye out for groomers as they will most likely be sharing the trail in an effort to smooth things out after the past winter season.

Make sure to follow Covid-19 guidelines and be respectful to one another. Let's make this a safe recreational season.

Support your local ATV club and the hard work they do to maintain the Florence County ATV trail system.

Questions or concerns may be directed to the Florence County Forestry and Parks Department (715) 528-3207 option 4. For more trail information please visit our website at:

Fire destroyed our Blue Ox equipment building, two tractors, two drags and all of our tools and supplies. We will do our best to keep up with the trails with the remaining equipment.

Blue Ox Trail Riders
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Forest County Scheduled to Open May 1st

​The Forest County ATV / UTV trails are set to open May 1st at noon. Here is the notification from the Forest County ATV Association:


Here is the official statement from the Forest County Forestry Dept. "All Forest County State funded ATV Trails will be open for use on Friday, May 1st, 2020 at noon. Snowmobile trails are not open for ATV use by County Ordinance. Please stay on the approved trails and routes. Please use caution and appropriate speeds when using the ATV trails. Trails across National Forest will remain closed."

The "National Forest" segment is the connector between the Nicolet State Trail and the town of Blackwell.

Big thanks to our Trail Ambassadors for surveying the trails and getting them in shape and also to our Forestry Dept for working with us toward the opening date!

Gates are open, we are doing some last minute grading/brushing, LET'S GO RIDING!!

Forest County ATV Association

Forest County ATV Association - Home | Facebook

Forest County ATV Association. 2,394 likes · 140 talking about this. ATV and UTV riding in Northern Wisconsin. Forest County ATV Association's mission...
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Embarrass River OHV Park & Dyracuse Recreation Park Set to Open

In a sure sign of spring, two of Wisconsin's OHV parks are gearing up to open in the coming weeks. 

Embarrass River Campground & ATV Park Opens May 1st 

First up is Embarrass River Campground and ATV Park. On their Facebook page ( they state:

As of today April 17th we will still open the trails and campground on May 1st. You must practice social distancing when you are at our facilities which includes:

Staying 6 ft away from people not apart of your household.

Only people of a single household may be on any given campsite.

If you do feel sick or have a fever please stay home or seek medical care.

The Office will be open for shower, bathroom and laundry only. If you need to speak with staff please go to the self registration window on the east side of the building or call the park office.

We will increase the frequency of cleaning of our facilities to prevent the spread.
To reduce contact with people, we will not be delivering firewood to your campsites (unless pre-ordered on your reservation) until the safer at home order has been lifted. You will still be able to purchase firewood at the office or drop money in the dropbox by the woodshed.

If you have any questions contact us by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 715-535-2169

Dyracuse Recreation Park Opens May 2nd

 The Dyracuse Recreation Area stated on their Facebook page ( they are set to open on May 2nd at 10am. No further information has been given about social distancing rules.

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Hidden Bear Trail ATV Club Safely Donates to Christian Food Pantry

​Hidden Bear Trail ATV club donated $1,000.00 to the Christian Food Pantry and $1,000.00 to Community Health Mask Makers recently. 

Facebook post:

From the article: "Maintaining proper social distance, Christian Food Pantry president Scott Wycherley, left, accepted a $1,000 check from Hidden Bear Trail ATV Club membership secretary Dawn Schmoker. Both were practicing safe protection with masks as they filled the shelves at the Lakewood food pantry. HBT ATV Club thanks volunteers at the pantry, as well as local health providers, EMT's and firefighters, grocery stores, gas stations and restaurant workers."

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