Mark Twain among National Forests hoping to be destinations during coronavirus uncertainty
ROLLA (KBIA) — National forests, including Mark Twain in the Missouri Ozarks, saw big crowds over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, proving to be a popular destination for leisure activities while coronavirus concerns remain.
While forest office staff members are still working from home because of pandemic concerns, the campgrounds, bathrooms and other public areas and facilities started opening to visitors in mid- to late June.
National forests in the region are still accumulating data, but are reporting full campgrounds over the Independence Day holiday and full parking lots during the day.
“We are having a lot of first-time visitors to these rec areas,” said Chris Woods, a recreation officer at Mark Twain. “And we’re having some folks that perhaps haven’t been to that particular campground in a decade or two, even. I’m seeing a reconnection to those rec areas and to the land.”
Part of the allure is forests allow people to get out and do something while so many places remain closed and events canceled, said Scott Weber, a member of the Mark Twain Forest Friends, a volunteer group that helps clean up the forest.
Weber said he has noticed an uptick in visitors over the past few weeks.
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