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DNR reducing park amenities during COVID-19 outbreak

MARQUETTE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order continues to have its effects.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reducing many amenities offered in state parks and recreation areas effective through at least April 13.

State parks and recreation areas remain open to provide residents with local opportunities to get outdoors. Extensive travel, though, should be minimal and be reserved only for essential needs, the DNR said, and people should practice social distancing of at least six feet.

“No matter how people are choosing to get outdoors, it is critical that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines,” DNR Director Dan Eichinger said in a news release.

Changes and reductions in service include:

≤ Many park amenities have been closed to minimize the change of people gathering in groups and/or maximize the environment for effective social distancing. The closures include but are not limited to concessions, playgrounds and play equipment, viewing platforms, fishing piers, GaGa ball bits, volleyball and basketball courts, designated dog areas, disc golf courses, radio-controlled flying fields, pump tracks, and picnic tables and shelters.

≤ All bathroom buildings and vault toilets will be closed in all state parks and recreation areas, including those at campgrounds, boating access sites, trailheads at state-designated trails, and others. Many locations, where available, will transition to portable toilets that will be cleaned by local vendors.

≤ There will be minimal trash service available, so visitors are encouraged to bring trash bags.

≤ No hand-washing stations will be provided. Visitors are urged to carry hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes.

≤ Grooming of snowmobile trails, with the season closing on Tuesday, and the grooming brushing, grading and clearing of all non-motorized trails and ORV trails, are suspended until at least the end of the order. To report anything that could be a risk to other people, call 517-331-0111.

The DNR is unable to reimburse trail sponsors or grant sponsors for trail-related work through the duration of the order.

The DNR also has determined that charter and fishing guide operations that involve boats, canoes and other marine vessels are not permitted through at least April 13.

MSU Extension has created a suite of online resources and programming available on demand through its new remote learning and resources online space at canr.msu.edu where users can find digital offerings and educational materials related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The resources include a listing of all MSU Extension virtual events, free educational resources for parents and caregivers to keep children engaged in learning through the school closures, online learning opportunities for adults, resources to keep individuals healthy and active during social distancing, and educational articles related to topics such as dealing with family stress, talking with children about novel coronavirus and managing finances

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