CASPER, Wyo. — While some campgrounds across Wyoming are open heading into Memorial Day weekend, others remain closed and COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
Wyoming offers camping at United States National Forest areas, Wyoming State Parks, Bureau of Land Management Wyoming managed lands and various county-managed campgrounds.
Camping is open to Wyoming residents only in the following Wyoming State Parks:
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- Buffalo Bill
- Curt Gowdy
- Hawk Springs
- Medicine Lodge
- Sinks Canyon State Parks
State Parks campgrounds require reservations under the current guidelines.
“Due to the need to follow social distancing guidelines, not all campsites are available; those that are too close to others will be blocked off until further notice,” State Parks says. “Cabins and yurts can be reserved for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only, thus allowing adequate time to clean and disinfect each structure prior to the next reservation.”
“Fee compliance and reservations will be verified in the campgrounds themselves by staff and law enforcement. Group campsites and day-use shelters will be permitted to have a maximum of 25 occupants.”
While booths may be manned for information purposes, cash payments are not being accepted.
“Until park offices are allowed to open, annual camping and day-use permits will be available only through ReserveAmerica and authorized local vendors,” State Parks adds. “Due to social distancing and CDC guidelines, all playgrounds, and some indoor facilities will remain closed to the public.”
“Wyoming State Parks offers a few suggestions that may enhance the camping experience. Bring a first aid kit, trash bags, and hand sanitizer. Also, please remember that fires are restricted to established fire rings. Visitors are asked to adhere to social distancing recommendations while recreating at boat ramps, fish cleaning stations, beaches, and other areas where people tend to congregate.”
Campground openings at National Forest and National Grassland areas varies:
- Shoshone National Forest: While many campsites remain closed, 16 campgrounds are set to reopen Friday, May 22
- Bighorn National Forest: Most campgrounds remain closed. Three are set to reopen on Friday and five are scheduled to reopen May 28.
- Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland: Developed recreations sites may open May 31 pending multiple factors. The U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region says campgrounds, visitor centers and picnic and day-use areas are closed.
“Local units will decide the operational status of developed recreation sites and fire restrictions after assessing conditions and working closely with local, state and federal officials,” the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region says. “Decisions will carefully consider local, state, and federal public health guidance, established fire restriction criteria, and staffing levels. The USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region includes 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.”
The U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region encourage visitors to recreate safely and offer the following advice:
- Plan ahead and Know Before You Go. Visitors are encouraged to check with local forest and grassland offices before heading outdoors. Many mid- and high-elevation recreation areas are under snow and remain closed.
- Come prepared with all the essentials, including food, water and emergency supplies.
- Stay close to home to keep other communities safe.
- Stay 6 feet apart from others.
- Avoid crowding in parking lots, trails, scenic overlooks and other areas.
- Take CDC precautions to prevent illnesses like COVID-19.
- Prepare for limited or no services, such as restroom facilities and garbage collection.
- Communicate with others as you pass. Alert trail users of your presence and step aside to let others pass.
- Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.
All campgrounds managed by the BLM High Plains District are open with the exception of the few that are still seasonally closed. Specifically, the campgrounds on Muddy Mountain are still inaccessible due to snowpack and are therefore closed.
“We are still asking that the public recreate safely and responsibly by following CDC, state, and local guidelines,” BLM said in an email to Oil City. “However, the majority of our campgrounds remain open for public use this Memorial Day weekend.”
The following established campgrounds are managed by BLM Wyoming field offices:
County-managed campgrounds offer another camping option in the state. Natrona County campgrounds are open. In addition to campgrounds on Casper Mountain, Natrona offers the following campgrounds near Alcova and Pathfinder Reservoirs:
- Black Beach Campground
- Cottonwood Campground
- Fremont Canyon Campground
- Okie Beach Campground
- Westside Campground
- Bishops Point Campground
- Diabase Campground
- Sage Campground
- Weiss Campground
- Wolf Point Campground
- Gray Reef Camping
Natrona County Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services ask that people follow some safety guidelines if they choose to go camping in the Parks. Further information about the restrictions and camping is available from the department’s website.
A previous version of this story identified BLM established campgrounds as closed. This was incorrect and has been corrected in the story above, at the request of BLM officials. Oil City regrets the error.
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.