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Hundreds if not thousands of campgrounds, public and private, are now open or are about to open. We have listed some of them here, but we don’t have nearly enough room to mention them all. If you’re looking for a place to camp in the coming weeks, check with your favorite park to learn its plans.
Camping with Cornhuskers? On May 20th Nebraska’s state parks will open camping at some select parks. The sticking points are parks that have enough social distancing and group-size recommendations can be maintained. Camping will be limited to seven days, and only eight people per site. Only self-contained RVs will be allowed, and by reservation only. Reservations open May 17 at outdoornebraska.org.
The ban on camping in Colorado State Parks that began six weeks ago has been extended until further notice by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
It might be a little easier to go to the dentist tomorrow in New Hampshire, but you’ll need to call your own dentist to be sure. Gov. Chris Sununu said Friday that dental offices can reopen if they follow certain guidelines developed by the American Dental Association and approved by the state. But the type of procedures that will be available will depend on the dentist. The ADA has recommended that dental offices postpone non-emergency procedures, but Sununu indicated that individual practices could make their own decisions, if they take adequate precautions.
Some private Michigan campgrounds are set to reopen on May 15 – and despite the heartache that the coronavirus pandemic has brought owners, there may be a bit of hope for what are mostly mom-and-pop operations. The state says it will not reopen its state-operated campgrounds until June 22, while U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are still closed with no reopen date set. Result – the pent-up demand for camping may find itself expressed in packing out privately run campgrounds, a potential (and much needed) windfall for owners.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District will reopen select campgrounds in Arkansas at Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake beginning May 20. Campgrounds to reopen at Lake Ouachita include Brady Mountain, Crystal Springs, Joplin, Tompkins Bend, Denby Point, Stephens Park, Twin Creek, Little Fir, Big Fir, Washita, Irons Fork, Avant, Buckville, Rabbit Tail and Cedar Fourche, the Corps of Engineers said in a news release Friday night.
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Camping in Idaho’s state parks looks like it may reopen at the end of the month. May 30 will mark the day if the current state reopening plan moves along. An earlier plan showed May 15 as the big reopener, but that was pushed off. State officials say they’re taking the time to prepare for visits by adding personal protective equipment for workers. Be glad your RV is self-contained – when things do break loose, showers will not initially be available, as recommended sanitation standards under COVID-19 make them too difficult to clean.
This Memorial Day weekend promises to be one of many busy weekends in Utah’s Dixie National Forest with most campgrounds, picnic areas, roads and trails opening May 22.
The number of coronavirus cases increased by 28 Saturday in Elkhart County, Indiana, where 85 percent of all American RVs are manufactured, according to information on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website. Two more deaths were also recorded, bringing that toll to 18. The total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in Elkhart County was 436 on Saturday, up from 410 the day before.
Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah) threw open the gates to visitors last Wednesday (May 6). All viewpoints up to and including Rainbow Point were made accessible. However, visitors should be prepared for some discomforts: The only restrooms open in the park are at Sunset Point. Don’t expect much in the way of “interpretation,” as the visitor center remains closed, as do all campgrounds and concessions.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers extended its closure of 25 campgrounds within the Cumberland River Basin in Kentucky and Tennessee through at least May 31.
The country’s top visited National Park – Great Smoky Mountains – began a phased-in reopening yesterday. Roads and trails are now open; two weeks from now campgrounds, picnicking, and visitor centers will welcome visitors.
Friday marked the first day of lawful camping in Arkansas state parks. If DeGray Lake State Park in Bismark is any indicator, many residents will soon head out to their favorite campground. All 82 sites at the resort immediately booked up. Park rangers turned out to ensure campers paid heed to social distancing.
ABOVE: State Park Peace Officer (SPPO) Lifeguards at Bolsa Chica Lifeguard Headquarters Office pose for photo to educate visitors on how to properly maintain a 6-foot physical distance from each other and to actively recreate while at the parks and beaches in Orange County, California.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Park campgrounds will be closed Memorial Day weekend. According to the DEC website: “All state-operated campgrounds, cabins, pavilions, and cottages are closed to visitation through May 31. All visitors with reservations will be issued a full refund.”
Worried New Hampshire residents didn’t get everything they wanted when they called for the state to shut down campgrounds out of COVID-19 fears. The state now says campgrounds can be open, but only at half-capacity, and out-of-staters can’t come unless they have a private membership. Some found it strange, too, when the state declared restaurants can seat customers outside for dining come May 18 – but here, too, only state residents can eat.
While Indiana RV manufacturers are eager to get their plants back open and rigs rolling down the line, some wonder how line workers can be kept safe from coronavirus. Here’s a list of a few suggestions that the RV Industry Association and the RV Indiana Council made to the state’s governor: Put up hand sanitizing stations. Make employees take temperature checks when entering the plant. Put oversize “sneeze guards” between work stations, or provide them with personal protective equipment. Also on the list: sanitizing tools, and daily workstation disinfecting.
California’s Pinnacles National Park is closed to all day-use visitors and vehicular traffic but the campground is open for visitors with reservations.
Texas State Parks are set to resume overnight camping starting May 18 for visitors with existing reservations, but it will be limited, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “This gradual reopening of overnight reservations will be limited at all Texas State Parks to varying degrees depending on individual park occupancy in order to align with safe business practices currently followed in Texas,” a news release from the department noted. Texas closed its state parks in early April to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. On April 20, parks in the state were allowed to reopen, although some didn’t open immediately due to local conditions.
Canadians are just like Americans – more-than-ready to go camping. Last Monday, Manitoba opened its provincial campground reservation website at 7 a.m. One couple each used a separate computer to try and book a camping site. She logged in at 7 to find 2,500 people in the virtual line ahead of her. It took him 35 more minutes just to get logged onto the site, and by that time he found himself about 7,000th in position. It took three more hours before the couple was able to book sites. The province says at 11 a.m., 9,614 reservations had been made – 1,060 more than last year.
Pechanga Resort Casino near Temecula, California, announced on Wednesday that it had reopened its RV resort the day before with a limited number of spaces and stringent regulations in place including the requirement guests wear face coverings when outside their RVs.
Folks in Grand Haven, Michigan, were rejoicing as restrictions were lifted, and the Grand Haven State Park was reopened to public use. All was well until last Saturday, when officials noted with no small amount of alarm that “a large number of visitors” ignored social distancing guidelines. Result? On Sunday vehicle use of the park was shut down, including use of the campground. Access for camping and non-pedestrian activity is gone “until further notice.”
On May 5, access reopened in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park to overnight stays in Cedar Mesa campground and in Cathedral Valley campground.
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Other Coronavirus News
• Nevada has allowed restaurants, salons and other non-essential businesses to open as of yesterday.
• Roy Horn, one-half of the popular Las Vegas animal and magic act Siegfried and Roy, died Friday of complications from the coronavirus. He was 75.
• CDC Director Robert Redfield has entered self-quarantining after being exposed to someone at the White House who had tested positive for COVID-19.
• California will have a budget shortfall of $54.3 billion because of the economic devastation from the coronavirus, the deficit so large it will swallow the state’s reserves.
• Hawaii authorities are cracking down on rogue tourists who are visiting beaches, riding personal watercraft, shopping and generally flouting strict requirements that they quarantine for 14 days after arriving.
• U.S. officials say fewer illegal immigrants are trying to enter the country from Mexico amid new enforcement rules imposed in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
• The coronavirus outbreak may have thrown millions onto unemployment rolls and shut down businesses across the nation, but people still need pickup trucks for their jobs. Sales of trucks in the United States have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.
• The Defense Department has begun barring the enlistment of would-be military recruits who have been hospitalized for the coronavirus unless they get a special medical waiver.
• Authorities in Oklahoma say three McDonald’s employees suffered gunshot wounds when a woman opened fire because she was angry that the restaurant’s sit-down dining area was closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
• As many as 100,000 retail outlets are likely to close in the next five years, UBS research analysts have suggested. Some long-established retail names may never recover from the pandemic: The Gap, the San Francisco clothing chain that owns Old Navy and Banana Republic, said it expects to shutter some locations permanently, while J.C. Penney skipped paying interest on bonds last month – the first step toward a bankruptcy filing.
• As people across the globe stay home, the air has cleaned up. In New Delhi, India, one of the most polluted cities in the world, residents are enjoying views of sights not visible in decades. Nitrogen dioxide pollution in the northeastern United States is down 30 percent. Rome air pollution levels from mid-March to mid-April were down almost half from a year ago. “It is giving us this quite extraordinary insight into just how much of a mess we humans are making of our beautiful planet,” says conservation scientist Stuart Pimm of Duke University.
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A message of hope from former President George W. Bush
We posted this last week, but it was so popular we are showing it to you again. Put your politics aside for a moment and listen to this short message from the former President.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:
Day Two without sports: “Found a young lady sitting on my couch yesterday. Apparently she’s my wife. She seems nice.”
HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this short video shows you the most effective way to wash your hands to get rid of germs.
Facebook Group: How the coronavirus is impacting RVers. Get updates throughout the day about park and campground closings, cancelled rallies and RV shows — and more. Join in the conversation with other RVers about what’s on all our minds right now.