MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will reopen Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area in Columbia County and Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area in Adams County, effective immediately.

However, Parfrey’s Glen and Pewits Nest State Natural Areas, both in Sauk County, will remain closed at this time to protect the health and safety of the public, staff and to protect property integrity. The features of these properties do not allow for social distancing or large crowds.

Both Gibraltar Rock and Dells of the Wisconsin River are favorites among hunters for the fall seasons. And as fall colors near peak in the area, both properties offer opportunities to hike and take in the changing views.

The DNR urges visitors to do their part when visiting DNR properties. Most of Wisconsin’s state natural areas are isolated and have few or no facilities. Hiking trails might be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths.

Following the Leave No Trace principles helps protect the land for generations to come. A GPS unit or a detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger properties.

Visitors are reminded to continue recreating responsibly close to home, practicing social distancing, frequently washing their hands and only traveling for necessity. Visitors also are encouraged to wear face coverings in situations where social distancing might be difficult. This might apply to outdoor spaces as well.

The DNR continues to receive the most up-to-date information and will adjust operations as conditions change. The DNR also will continue to monitor circumstances to determine additional changes.

Before visiting other properties, be aware that capacity restrictions might be in place. Check the capacity before heading out and have a backup plan in case of temporary closures.

For specific information regarding COVID-19, the public is encouraged to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram.

Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

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