Parks Changes and Updates Due to COVID-19

Updated March 25, 2020 at 3:00 pm

As the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) increases in Dane County, we are using the best information we have to take proactive steps to protect the health of our community. We know that outdoor spaces are critical to the mental and physical health of our community, now more than ever. We are unable to disinfect all park amenities including playground equipment, tables or other surfaces so please come to the park prepared with what you need.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
To stay up-to-date on coronavirus (COVID-19), visit Public Health Madison & Dane County’s website:

Safer at Home

Governor Tony Evers issued a "Safer at Home" order that will be in effect from 8:00 a.m. March 25 until 8:00 a.m. April 24. Outdoor activities, such as running, walking, fishing, biking, and hiking, are exempt from this order. This means you can continue to visit county parks and dog parks provided you comply with the social distancing protocols described below. All Dane County Playgrounds are currently closed. As of now, Dane County dog parks remain open. Please follow the dog park guidelines described below and come prepared so you can enter and exit the dog parks safely. These guidelines will be closely monitored. Check with local municipalities for updates about municipal parks and dog parks.

Facility Closures
All vault toilets are temporarily closed and portable toilets have been removed due to staffing limitations. Amenities such as water, hand sanitizer and toilet paper are not available at this time. Park visitors must plan ahead and bring items they may need including hand sanitizer and wipes. We suggest bringing a plastic bag and using it live a glove if you need to touch any surfaces, such as gates. We want you to be safe and prepared.

Dog Parks
While at the park, it is important to maintain social distancing of no less than six feet from each other and no groups of people. Our dog parks are some of the busiest parks in our system and also have gated entrances so we ask that dog park visitors take extra precautions to protect themselves and the safety of others. We do not have the staff capacity and resources to sanitize gates and other common touch sites. Therefore, all common touch sites should be treated as a possible virus transmission location, such as gates, handles, dog waste collection bags, etc. When visiting our parks, bring hand sanitizer, gloves and/or wipes to help provide protection. We are doing our best to keep dog waste bag containers filled but please try to bring back up bags with you, just in case. At the moment, we are still collecting dog waste at the parks and will continue to provide this service as long as we can.

Social Distancing
While at the park, it is important to maintain social distancing of no less than six feet from each other and no groups of people. Try to keep interactions minimal especially with older adults, pregnant individuals, people with weakened immune systems, and people with underlying health conditions. Any one that may be in this group with increased risk of Coronavirus (COVID- 19) are encouraged to take extra precautions. By minimizing non-essential contact, we can slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.

Carry-in / Carry-out Of Trash and Waste
Until further notices, Dane County Park is asking park visitors to carry out their trash and waste. We are operating on a reduced staff, which is making it hard for us to empty waste cans, and we may need to start removing these from the parks until we return to normal operations.

Group Activities and How You Can Volunteer Individually
We are monitoring the situation canceling or postponing group activities and gatherings as needed. Please check our website if there is an event you were planning on attending. This includes many spring cleanup events that traditionally were sponsored by school groups, Friends groups, and volunteers. These events help us clean up after a long winter and prepare our parks, natural resource areas and lakes for the spring and summer seasons. One way you can help while you are in our parks this spring is to bring along a pair of gloves and a small garbage bag and pick up any trash you see along the trails and waterways. If you do, please let us know by filling out this short form so we know what areas have been cleaned.

All campground openings have been pushed back to May 1st.  The online Parks Opening and Closing Schedule reflects these changes and will be kept up-to-date.