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State of Nebraska closing nearly 11,000 campsites because of coronavirus
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State of Nebraska closing nearly 11,000 campsites because of coronavirus

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Nebraska camping

Lake Minatare State Recreation Area near Scottsbluff -- and all of the other state parks and recreation and wildlife management areas -- will soon be closed for overnight camping for at least a month.

After this weekend, the state is shutting down all overnight camping in its parks and recreation and wildlife management areas — and will keep campsites closed for at least a month.

The move — an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus — follows the Game and Parks Commission’s announcement two weeks ago it was locking its lodges, cabins and visitor centers. Those closures were extended until at least May 8, the commission said Thursday.

The campground shutdown covers the state’s 3,400 improved sites and 7,500 primitive sites, and takes effect April 6. It is scheduled to end May 8, though it could also be extended. The state will offer refunds to campers who prepaid their fees.

State parks and recreation and wildlife management areas will remain open for day use, along with a limited number of restrooms, which will be regularly disinfected.

The state describes day use as non-camping activities — like hiking, biking, picnicking and wildlife-watching — conducted between sunrise and 10 p.m.,  said Jim Swenson, parks division administrator. Fishing is allowed at night.

For a complete list of Game and Parks closings and cancellations, go to: OutdoorNebraska.org/healthinfo.

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