Tips for Getting Outside Safely in Southwest Wisconsin:
Outdoor activity is as essential as ever amid the COVID 19 pandemic and the Safer-At-Home order has also defined it as such. So long as you practice the social distancing requirements such activities as walking, biking, hiking or running are allowed. Due to overcrowding and the public’s failure to comply with social distancing the Governor ordered closure of 40 state parks, recreational areas and forests, mostly in southern Wisconsin. In order to continue to help flatten the curve and keep our communities safe, please stay as local as you can with all your explorations to minimize your impact on the potential spread of this virus.
That being said, we offer these tips for getting outside safely:
Find your public land: Plenty of good spots are still open. Be smart. If the parking area looks full, move on. Do not trespass to get where you want to go. Savor any hidden gems and keep them extra quiet by keeping off social media. DNR Public Lands
Hit the Trail: Many trails are open but their popular access points are not. Do a bit more research to figure out where you can get on a trail and be sure to practice proper social distancing if you encounter other trail users.
Ride the Water: A great way to stay appropriately away from others is to hop in a boat! Kayaking and canoeing can be a wonderful way to see hidden corners and beautiful scenery. Our favorite resource is the Miles Paddled website.
Cruise the Road: Go for a drive and stretch your legs on a rural country road. Wear bright colors and stay alert to potential vehicles. Bring a bag and pick up some trash. (Not recommended for our littlest explorers.) Or hop on a bike, trike or other wheeled-wonder and take in the fresh air as you cruise. The WI DOT has some nice resources on best roads to bike.
Some of our land trust partners have provided great tips for getting outside and visiting their properties as well. Gathering Waters houses the list of Wisconsin member land trusts.
South Central Region
Closed State Lands as of April 10, 2020:
Aztalan State Park
Belmont Mound State Park
Blue Mound State Park
Cadiz Springs State Recreational Area
Capital Springs State Recreational Area
Cross Plains State Park
Dells of The Wisconsin River State Natural Area
Devil’s Lake State Park
Fenley State Recreational Area
Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area
Governor Dodge State Park
Governor Nelson State Park
Lake Kegonsa State Park
Lower Wisconsin Riverway
Mirror Lake State Park
Natural Bridge State Park
Nelson Dewey State Park
New Glarus Woods State Park
Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area
Pewits Nest State Natural Area
Rocky Arbor State Park
Sauk Prairie State Recreational Area
Tower Hill State Park
Wyalusing State Park
Yellowstone Lake State Park