MARINE ON ST. CROIX, Minnesota (WCCO) — In a region built of outdoor recreation, Minnesota’s state parks are the crown jewel of family camping. But if you visit one now, besides the woods and waters you will see blocked roads and closed campsites.

Pitching a tent in the back yard could be as good as it gets Memorial Day weekend. Camping in state parks and private campgrounds remain off limits under the Governor’s latest executive order.

“We like to go to the north shore as the weather warms up, getting up to Two Harbors or Grand Marais,” avid camper Mark Schibilla said.

Instead of packing up the camping trailer, Mark and Brenda Schibilla are hiking the trails of William O’Brien State Park, because campsites remain closed.

“Just to be able to come here a couple of days, we’ve got a nice little rig we could be self-contained in so we don’t have to worry about the facilities,” Mark Schibilla said.

Adequate sanitation of bathroom facilities, discouraging unnecessary and long distance travel and social distancing around campfires are all cited as reasons for the camping ban. But that is only prompting some to ask how opening up shopping is any safer.

“Now that the weather is getting nicer, we’ve all got cabin fever. Just got to get out and enjoy it, yes,” Mark Schibilla said.

The ban that will remain in effect through at least May 31 may prompt die-hard campers to head to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area or Voyageurs National Park. Beginning Monday, May 18, both will allow campers to sleep under the stars once again.

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