State parks, historic sites and conservation areas are planning to reopen closed facilities as the state eases restrictions following Sunday's expiration of the stay-at-home order.


While most state parks remained open, services including concessions and lodges were closed, as were campgrounds and visitor centers.


Beginning Monday, the Parks Division stated in a news release, concession-operated lodging, dining, marina and retail operations will begin reopening. Discretion is left to individual concessionaires to stay closed and they must follow social-distancing guidelines.


Those guidelines include a minimum distance of six feet between people; avoid crowded areas and groups of people; only travel with people in your household; wash hands often and carry hand sanitizer, soap, wipes and water; keep apart from others on trails and warn them of your approach; cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze; and pack out what you pack in.


The Missouri Department of Conservation, which closed its headquarters and regional offices, staffed shooting ranges, nature centers, visitor centers, and educational centers around the state in March, is working on a plan to reopen, a news release stated.


“We do not have a date set for re-opening at this time, but we are working hard to make this happen with safety at the forefront," Director Sara Parker Pauley said in the release.


Conservation areas, nature center trails, and boat accesses have remained open and that will continue. Hunting, fishing, and trapping seasons continue as scheduled.


Daily trout tags, along with a fishing permit, unless exempt, will be required beginning May 16 for fishing at all four trout parks: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James.


The conservation agency has extended the cancellation of its programs and events through May 31, including hunter education classes, nature center programs and events, shooting range programs and events, and landowner workshops.


rkeller@columbiatribune.com


573-815-1709


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