Re-opening Plan for County Park Facilities

June 8, 2020

St. Joseph County Parks, with support of County Leadership and the St. Joseph County Parks Board, have prepared a gradual re-opening of County Park facilities as they relate to Governor Holcomb’s 5 Stages to get Indiana Back on Track. Please keep in mind that re-openings are subject to change based on CDC guidelines as well as recommendations from county health officials. The safety of visitors and staff is our highest priority and we are vigilantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds.


County Parks and trails remain open. When hiking, please remember to stay on designated trails. Dogs should always be on a 6-foot leash.


Canoe/Kayak Rental has opened at Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park. Rentals are available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am-4:00pm, weather and creek conditions permitting. Canoe/kayak rentals are suspended at St. Patrick’s County Park until further notice. Please visit www.sjcparks.org for more information on canoe/kayak rentals.


Playgrounds are tentatively scheduled to open on June 15 along with one public restroom at each county park, with additional measures being taken in cleaning restroom facilities. Drinking fountains will remain closed. 
County Park offices opened to the public on June 3. The Discovery Room in the Nature Center at Bendix Woods County Park will remain closed until August 1. 


County Park entry fees will be reinstated beginning Friday, July 3 at St. Patrick’s & Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Parks and on Saturday, July 4 at Bendix Woods County Park. Entrance fees are $4/vehicle for in-county vehicles and $5/vehicle for out-of-county vehicles. Entrance fees will remain in effect on weekends and holidays through October 31. St. Patrick’s and Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Parks also have entrance fees every Friday through Labor Day.
Reservations for open air shelters at all County Park locations will resume on July 6 and larger special events may take place beginning this day as long as CDC guidelines for social distancing are practiced. 


On August 3 enclosed shelter reservations may resume at all County Park locations, again with social distancing guidelines being followed.


Park users are encouraged to follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene and hand washing prior to and after visiting the parks. They should bring their own water bottle and maintain social distancing with park users who are not part of their household group.


The County Parks are open from 10am-9:00pm on weekends and open by 8am on weekdays. Trail maps can be found at gatehouses, kiosks and on the St. Joseph County Parks website: www.sjcparks.org. 


The County Parks Facebook page is highlighting several activities that individuals and families can enjoy on their own while visiting the parks.


Hike St. Joseph County Parks    
Enjoy St. Joseph County Parks this summer on a FREE guided hike every Wednesday in June. Hiking is a great way to get active and reduce stress while exploring what our parks have to offer. We will discover the natural beauty, wildlife, and history at a different park each week. Hikes will last 60-90 minutes. Registration is not required. In the event of a cancellation due to weather, we will post updates on our St. Joseph County Parks Facebook Page.  


Remaining dates and locations are June 17 at Spicer Lake Nature Preserve/Visitor Center and June 24 at Ferrettie-Baugo Creek County Park/Gatehouse. All hikes begin at 10am, weather conditions permitting.


Self-guided Mystery Hike
Hike a trail and solve a mystery at Spicer Lake Nature Preserve! Visit clue stations to discover what made the noise in the night that scared Naturalist Ned. At each clue station you’ll get a piece of a secret code, so you’ll need a way to write down or record numbers. Solve the mystery for a chance to win some Bendix Woods pure maple syrup!


“Many people are looking for new outdoor activities during the era of COVID-19,” says Park Naturalist Amal Farrough. “This mystery trail is a great way to get outside and be active!”


The mystery trail will be in place until June 20. Park admission is free, and park hours are 11:00 am to 8:00 pm daily. For more information, please call 574/654-3155.

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