State Parks adjust services; MDC removes trout tag requirement

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stocking to be halted Friday, but Roaring River remains open

Out of an abundance of caution and in reaction to the presence of COVID-19 in Missouri, Missouri State Parks will temporarily close all campgrounds and lodging through April 30.

This includes campgrounds, park-run lodging and concessionaire-run lodging. Missouri State Parks will remain open to the public, including day-use areas, boat ramps and trails.

All fees associated with camping and park-run lodging reservations, including reservation, cancellation and modification fees, beginning the night of March 27 through the night of April 30, will be refunded. Park staff will inform guests already in the campgrounds of this change and will work with them to adjust their reservations and on any needed refunds. The call center will contact campers with reservations who have yet to arrive.

If anyone has an existing reservation at a state park or historic site campground or park-run lodging, call the Reservation Call Center at 1-877-422-6766. The call center is open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At Roaring River, the Nature Center and Park Office will be closed, but employees will still be available to take calls during normal business hours.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has also announced it is temporarily waiving permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags for Missouri residents and nonresidents whose fishing privileges are not otherwise suspended.

The waiver of needing a permit or trout tag to fish will run through April 15. MDC will reassess the situation at that point. All season dates and limits will continue to apply and be enforced. 

“The current public-health emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has many Missourians and others looking for safe ways to get outside in nature,” said Sara Parker Pauley, MDC director. “Missouri’s rivers and streams offer high-quality fishing as a way for people to connect with nature while still complying with all health and safety recommendations. Fishing is also a great way to get some much needed physical and mental health benefits during this stressful time.” 

Pauley added that it is still critical for everyone to continue to heed all recommendations for hand washing, social distancing, and other public-health measures while fishing and during other outdoor activities, including maintaining at least six feet of distance between all individuals who are not family members.

Maramec Spring Park in St. James has been closed to all activities, but Missouri’s three other public trout parks — Bennett Spring State Park in Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, and Roaring River State Park near Cassville — remain open for day use and fishing.

To reduce possible increased social congregation, MDC will suspend daily trout stocking at all trout parks starting Friday and has suspended other fish stocking in waters around the state until further notice.

Anyone with questions may contact Missouri State Parks at moparks@dnr.mo.gov.

For the latest information on the Missouri State Parks response to coronavirus, people may visit www.mostateparks.com/response.

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