During the three years that Jennifer Birkholz has been park superintendent at Peninsula State Park, she’s never had to issue a capacity closure. That changed July 4, when motorists were parking on the grass and in the picnic areas.
“At that point, we have to turn people away,” Birkholz said. The closure to motorists – visitors were still free to walk or bicycle in – lasted until 4 pm.
“We don’t have more than 500 parking spots here,” she said. “You figure on top of it, we have 468 campsites, and they’re driving around.”
Though not expressly COVID-19 related, the capacity closure could be indirectly related as people seek out places of natural beauty where it’s easy to socially distance.
“It’s something that’s been happening in other parks” as well, Birkholz said. “We’re seeing the number of people we normally see in the fall for foliage. That’s what we’re seeing up here; it feels like a lot more day-trippers.”