Saturday looks to be a good day for out-of-staters ready to recreate in Wyoming, although residents will also have more opportunities coming up for access to certain outdoor spaces.
Last week Gov. Mark Gordon said both the requirement recreational visitors quarantine for 14 days and the ban on short-term non-resident fishing licenses will expire Friday.
“We intend to resume those license sales immediately once restrictions on nonresidents lifted,” Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik said at a news conference with the governor.
The week following, only residents will have the opportunity to camp in developed state park campsites.
Wyoming State Parks will partially reopen to camping for Wyoming residents beginning May 15. The state parks, including Buffalo Bill State Park outside Cody, have remained open to day-use recreation but closed to camping due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The busy camping season unofficially starts Memorial Day weekend. However, we are excited to announce that we have been working with the governor’s office and the state health officer to get Wyoming residents camping in just over two weeks,” said Darin Westby, director of Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources.
The decision to reopen out-of-state visitor camping will be continually reassessed by officals, and a future plan will be submitted to the state as camping begins to open in surrounding states.
To ensure the safety of visitors and staff, and in an effort to open parks to camping as quickly as possible, all camping will require reservations.
That move spurred a petition to the governor asking for there to be no requirement to reserve a space – the petition had more than 14,000 signatures Tuesday afternoon.
Westby said the reservation system will ensure compliance.
This will also ensure that only in-state residents can make reservations, provide instant communication through information on the reservation, and reduce cash handling by staff.
Sites will not be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors can still secure a spot without a prior reservation, but must do so through the reservation system upon arrival. For the safety of the staff and visitors, fee booths will remain closed and fee compliance and reservations will be verified by law enforcement.
Only single-unit campsites will be made available and no more than 10 people per site will be allowed. Cabins and yurts will be available for three-day reservations, Friday through Sunday. Westby said this will allow staff to clean and disinfect each structure prior to the next reservation.
Due to social distancing and CDC guidelines, all playgrounds, group shelters, group campsites and some indoor facilities will remain closed to the public.