The do’s and don'ts of parks, open under Stay at Home order

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- State and city parks are still open, as they are considered “essential” under the Stay At Home order, but not everything that happens within the parks are the same.

Madison Parks has closed all basketball courts.

Madison Parks officials are urging visitors to practice social distancing across all their parks. The guideline, according to public information officer Ann Shea, is to keep 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in one’s immediate household.

“It taxes our park rangers,” Shea said, on the authorities who are enforcing the guidelines. “It stretches them thin on the duties that they have, so we really need people to abide by the guidance that comes straight from the governor.”

All city playgrounds and sport courts, including basketball and tennis, are closed. With reports of groups ignoring or remove the “closed” signs, Shea says parks officials have taken “more drastic measures” and chained basketball nets to the rim.

Shea also explained that dogs are not allowed on golf courses.

At state parks, the Department of Natural Resources is calling attention to similar guidelines on social distancing, urging people not to crowd inside bathrooms.

The DNR is waiving entrance fees to all state parks.

“Hopefully you're going to be outside, [and] you're not going to have to touch doors or handles or anything like that. But if that opportunity presents [itself], don’t forget those same things that you hear elsewhere also apply to the state parks,” conservation warden Nathan Kroeplin said.

All current regulations apply for hunting, trapping and fishing seasons. The DNR says people should hunt, trap and fish in their communities only.

Boat launches at state parks are open. Fees for boat launches in Wisconsin State Parks are also waived.

All campsites (individual, group and indoor) are closed through the end of April.

As the number of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin continues to climb, city and state parks officials said there is a chance that parks close entirely.

Other closures at Madison Parks include:
· Restrooms – most remain closed from the winter season. Parks officials say they’re evaluating the status of restrooms in high traffic areas.
· Disc Golf Courses – Hiestand and Elver remain closed from the winter season, Yahara Hills now closed and baskets removed.
· Athletic Fields – all remain closed from the winter season
· Shelters, all remain closed from the winter season, Highland Manor and Gates of Heaven now closed
· Drinking Fountains – remain off from the winter season
· Skate park – now closed, signage in place
· Golf Courses