Private and public campgrounds across Minnesota are free to open again for general use starting Monday under gradually relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in the state.
Until now only dispersed (remote) campsites have been legally open, as well as campgrounds that serve people who use their camper as their primary home.
Campground operators must follow stringent, specific guidelines before reopening. They can be found at files.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/covid%2019/campgrounds-guidance.pdf.
The DNR is scrambling to reopen facilities at state-operated campgrounds, such as water, garbage and toilets. The agency already opened 155 remote campsites in state parks. On June 1, the DNR anticipates having about 20-30 of its campgrounds within state parks, recreation areas and forest campgrounds ready to open, with limited services.
Some lodging options, such as camper cabins and yurts, will also open Monday.
By June 8, the DNR will reopen another 20-30 campgrounds and lodging facilities, the rest of its remote campsites and many of its contact/ranger stations.
The agency hopes to have all state campgrounds open by June 15.
Campers should come prepared with their own hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, paper towels, toilet paper and other supplies for use at their campsites and available bathrooms.
The DNR will leave the following facilities and amenities closed until further notice: beaches, pond-pools, housekeeping cabins, visitor centers, group centers, fire towers, large-group facilities (such as amphitheaters), group tours and other scheduled interpretive programs.
Most DNR-operated campsites must be reserved in advance. Go to dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/reservations.html and remember that a state park sticker also is required to enter most parks.
National Forest campgrounds also should reopen by Monday, including the many popular drive-to campgrounds across the Chippewa and Superior national forests. Dispersed camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park have been open since May 18.
Starting Monday at Voyageurs, in addition to already open boat-to campsites, most services will be available at the Kettle Falls Hotel, including overnight stays at the villas, takeout food, gas and supplies. Hotel rooms and dine-in food are not yet available. Call 218-240-1724 for more information on the Kettle Falls Hotel.
Minnesotans are encouraged to use the following guidelines to minimize potential points of virus transmission while traveling:
Travel as directly to the destination as possible, and minimize stops along the way.
Attempt to bring all needed supplies with you.
If you do need to stop for gas or supplies, wear a cloth face covering.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces (gas pumps, door handles, shared bathrooms, etc.).
Do not travel if sick.