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Campgrounds allowed to open June 1 & other COVID-19 updates

There were a few guidelines that came out of the Governor’s press conference on Wednesday that will make an impact on many parks around the state. The belt of restriction has been let out another notch to provide more outdoor recreation. The MN Stay Safe Plan infographic is a helpful glance at the past, present and future of the reopening around the state.

For outdoor recreation, the most notable update was Governor Walz’s announcement that campgrounds will be allowed to open starting June 1 with some restrictions. This is great news for parks to start generating revenue and for avid campers to finally break out their campers for the season.

A set of campground guidelines has been posted on the DNR website; for more information on the best practices visit MN Guidelines for Campground Operators. Members from the GMPT board worked with many agencies around the state including DNR, National Forest Service, Metro Parks, Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission and more to help create these campground guidelines. They are intended to help you determine the minimum standards that you should be implementing while you work to open your campgrounds but allow for room to do more if you have the proper staffing and ability to maintain best practices.

One large variable to how your open your campground may revolve around restrooms, along with the time and staffing to keep them adequately clean. In potential high-traffic areas like bathrooms, we cannot stress enough the need to have plenty of signage. It is a good idea to post a limit to the number of people in the bathrooms, suggest visitors use their own camper if possible, and let them know how often the restrooms are cleaned. Be sure to send out information about your campground’s amenities and closures, what you’re doing to prevent the spread of the virus. and what the visitors should be doing on their own when they visit the park. The link to MN Guidelines for Campground Operators includes a section about Guidelines for Visitors which can be helpful in your publications and emails to encourage the public to think about their own self-responsibility when using parks.

A quick reference guide to your particular type of business, our recreation type, along with future phased opening potentials, is also provided on the Guidance on Safely Reopening Minnesota Businesses. Loosening restrictions on bars, restaurants and retail businesses may also have an affect on various parks when dealing with camp stores and other retail outlets. Follow the guidelines closely to determine how they may impact your particular situation.

As always, your GMPT board members are here to help. If you have questions or need help strategizing, you can contact us at and we will have someone reach out to you. You can also join our next GMPT forum at 3 p.m. on June 2 to share comments and questions with other professionals around the state. Information about how to participate in that forum will be available soon.