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Most Michigan trail, boating facilities remain open

LANSING — To help slow the spread of the coronavirus and in accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, the Department of Natural Resources continues to monitor visitation and adherence to social-distancing requirements at DNR-managed facilities.

This means continually assessing needed adjustments to services and closures that best protect visitors, staff and the local communities.

A vast majority of state parks and recreation areas, state-managed trails and boating access sites remain open to provide local opportunities to get outdoors; however, all locations have modified services and/or closed amenities.

Recently, Tippy Dam Recreation Area in Manistee County was closed until further notice due to high numbers of visitors, lack of improper social distancing and people traveling long distances to reach the park.

“Throughout the stay-at-home order, we’ve seen an influx of visitors at state parks, boating access sites and trails,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “In order to continue to keep state parks and trails open, we expect everyone to follow effective social distancing practices, to not litter and not travel long distances to enjoy the outdoors.

“If concerns continue to build, the DNR will have to look at closing or further limiting access to our state-designated trails, state parks, boating access sites and other outdoor locations,” he said.

It’s been reported by both visitors and staff that a significant amount of trash has been left in state parks and boating access sites and at trailheads. Because of limited staff and the need to minimize public contact, trash services have been reduced in DNR-managed locations to dumpsters in designated locations. Visitors are asked to help protect our natural resources and bring a trash bag and “carry in, carry out” their trash and recyclables.

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