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DNR: People trying to access natural areas closed to the public

'We've been hearing that it's a consistent problem, and the longer it is a consistent problem, the longer it will remain closed.'
Published: Jul. 5, 2020 at 8:14 PM CDT
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SAUK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has kept four natural areas closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Parfrey’s Glen and Pewit’s Nest in Sauk County.

“They’re very small areas and so people cannot be spread out, so overcrowding becomes a problem very quickly,' said Missy VanLanduyt, Recreation Partnerships Section Chief with the DNR.

However, people are still trying to get into those parks. The entrances are blocked off with caution tape and cones, but VanLanduyt said people have been moving the barriers or going around them.

“We’ve been hearing that it’s a consistent problem, and the longer it is a consistent problem, the longer it will remain closed,” she said.

VanLanduyt said people who go in could face a citation and a fine.

“We’re trying not to do that, we’re trying to educate people and we’re trying to let them know that this area is closed and that people are not allowed in there,” she explained.

VanLanduyt said those areas are closed for safety reasons, and the risks go beyond COVID-19.

“When [the parks are] closed, they’re not monitored for if someone gets hurt, we don’t know where they are,” she said.

The Sauk County Sheriff’s Department told NBC15 on Sunday they have issued a few citations at both locations. Over the July 4 weekend, they received one complaint at Pewit’s Nest but did not find anyone when they responded.

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