Mo. state parks modify operations to address overcrowding

Elephant Rock Park to close

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - In response to recent events, Missouri State Parks will modify operations at five state parks to address overcrowding concerns.

This includes a temporary closure of four state parks and a partial closure of a fifth park.

  • Castlewood State Park - Close
  • Elephant Rocks State Park - Close
  • Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site and Park - Close
  • Weston Bend State Park - Close
  • St. Joe State Park - Close the off-road vehicle riding area
  • 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,” said Carol Comer, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “As conditions and recommendations change, we will make additional closures as needed. Before heading out to a state park, we encourage our citizens to check mostateparks.com for advisory updates and the latest actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The closures will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 2 and is scheduled to continue until April 30.

On Monday, we told you about an Iron County resident concerned after a busy weekend at Elephant Rocks State Park. The county commissioner said he emailed Governor Mike Parson, calling on him to close all state parks.

“If a park looks full, then it is,” said Mike Sutherland, director of DNR’s Division of State Parks. “Whether you’re inside or outside, you must follow the guidance provided by the CDC and Governor Parson: Keep 6 feet between you and others, avoid crowded areas, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze, and, most importantly, stay home if you are sick.”

Missouri State Parks encourages those who visit a park to carry hand sanitizer, soap, wipes and drinking water as services may be limited.

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