The following article was provided by Miranda Fredrick with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Missouri State Parks, a division of the Department of Natural Resources, today announced the phased reopening of campgrounds as a part of its continued efforts to return to normal operations in conjunction with Governor Mike Parson’s “Show Me Strong” Recovery Plan.

Missouri State Parks campgrounds will reopen to accommodate existing campground reservations at 3 p.m., Monday, May 18. In addition, new reservations will be accepted on Monday, May 18, for arrival dates beginning Tuesday, May 26. Missouri State Parks will also be instituting a number of changes related to campground operations to better facilitate appropriate social distancing and improve the safety of operations for Missouri State Parks’ guests and staff.

The additional measures include the following:

  • Reservations will be required prior to arrival.
  • Campground occupancy will be limited at some parks and sites.
  • Missouri State Parks will increase the frequency of cleaning shower houses and restrooms.
  • Campers will use a new contactless, self-check-in feature.
  • There will be occupancy restrictions in shower houses and restrooms.
  • Missouri State Parks will only accept credit and debit cards.

“We are happy to be able to reopen our campgrounds and provide another outdoor recreational opportunity for our visitors, but, as you might expect, our guests will see some changes,” said Carol Comer, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “We hope all of our visitors will continue to be respectful of others, practice social distancing, avoid crowded areas, and do their part to help keep our parks and historic sites safe and clean.”

One of the changes visitors will experience is a new contactless, self-check-in feature. Prior to arriving at the state park or historic site, campers will receive an email with instructions on how to access their reservation online and check in on the day of arrival. Alternatively upon arrival, campers can check in by opening the camera on their smartphone device and hovering over the QR code posted at the campsite, and following the prompt. Missouri State Parks staff will be available at the park or historic site to answer any questions. Campers also should be aware that reservations will now be required at most campgrounds and park-run lodging prior to arrival, and can be made up until 7 p.m. CST the day before arrival.

First-come, first-served camping will no longer be available at most state park campgrounds. New reservations can be made beginning Monday, May 18, for arrival dates on Tuesday, May 26, and beyond, by visiting mostateparks.com. Missouri State Park beaches will open to the public on Thursday, May 21, with visitors expected to practice social distancing. “We know people are ready to get outdoors, but we all need to practice social distancing when we do,” said Missouri State Parks Director Mike Sutherland. “The safety of our dedicated parks team and the enjoyment of our visitors depends on all of us being responsible, whether we are indoors or outdoors. If an area or trail is crowded, we hope visitors will use that as an opportunity to explore a new area or trail that is less crowded.” Visitors should review signage posted throughout the parks and state historic sites, and diligently follow the guidelines for the health and safety of others. Come prepared to enjoy the outdoors responsibly by following the guidance provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Keep a minimum distance of six feet between you and others.
  • Avoid crowded areas and groups of people.
  • Stay close-to-home and travel with only those from your household.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Come prepared and carry hand sanitizers, soaps, wipes and water.
  • Avoid handshakes, hugs and touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Be kind and considerate of others.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you are sick.

Visitors are encouraged to visit mostateparks.com to find a park close to home and to check for individual park advisories before heading to the park. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. If you have questions regarding Missouri State Parks, please contact us at moparks@dnr.mo.gov. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.