Busy state parks lead to debate about what should be open

Push to close Mo. state parks

IRON COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - While we all are looking to get out of the house, it’s raising the debate over whether public spaces should remain open and unrestricted.

“There coming down here to our small town and our state parks and it’s just really, really scary to me,” Kayleena Jones, concerned resident.

Kayleena Jones is talking about the crowds of people that were at Elephant Rocks last weekend.

“A lot people were saying there were license plates from Illinois and California and it instantly infuriated me because those are places with high infection rates,” said Jones.

Those weekend crowds prompted Iron County Commissioner Jim Scaggs to take action. He sent an email to Governor Mike Parson, calling on him to close all state parks.

Scaggs wrote in part, “If we are going to win this war against COVID-19 we all have to work together.”

On Monday, people at Elephant Rocks say they’re using common sense

“In a park this big it’s pretty easy to kind of stay away from people and go out on your own. So, I think common sense is the best option,” Samantha Bell, visitor.

“We wouldn’t have gotten out of the car if there were more people here, you know, if it would have been crowded, we definitely wouldn’t have gotten out of the car. I just don’t think people are listening or hearing what is being said about social distancing,” said Donna Riggleman, visitor.

And while these visitors hope parks like this stay open, Kayleena Jones worried what they may be leaving behind.

“They are using our public restrooms in the gas stations. They are going through our drive-thrus, you know they are handing money, people are handling money and it’s just terrifying,” said Jones.

As of right now, all Missouri State Parks are still open, but you are still encouraged to practice social distancing. However, some campgrounds and other features are closed.

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