Michigan state parks, recreation areas will stay open during governor 'shelter in place' order

March and April may bring the best weather for enjoying the outdoors, but with options for fun dwindling in Michigan, we may not have a choice.

State parks and recreation areas will remain open through the governor's 'shelter-in-place' executive order that asked residents to avoid all nonessential travel. 

However, state campgrounds are not counted in that list of places that are exempt.

In response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's directive on Monday, which mandated residents stay inside and only leave the home for essential services, all state park campgrounds, overnight lodging facilities, and shelters will be closed until at least April 13.

For the residents that do visit Michigan's state parks, they are asked to adhere to guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control - staying six feet away from other people.

"We want residents to use and enjoy our public outdoor spaces, but we ask them to do so responsibly and safely, whether in a forest, on a trail or in a parking lot," said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. "If it becomes evident that people are not practicing effective social distancing while visiting these state-managed resources, we will close them to protect the health of our visitors and our staff."

During a statewide speech broadcasted on Monday, Whitmer asked residents to do their part in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. In one of the most drastic measures taken in the state's efforts to combat COVID-19, the public was asked to remain in their homes for the next three weeks.