The City of La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has been actively monitoring and responding to COVID-19 and the affects it has on providing recreational opportunities to the La Crosse community. The department urges the community to do their part when visiting city parks and facilities, and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of the infectious disease COVID-19 pandemic by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups.
Effective immediately, please note the following:
- Beaches are closed until further notice.
- The following summer programs have been cancelled: Adult Softball, Youth Sports, Nature Day Camps, and Tiny Tots.
- Riverside Park - Limited Access: Beginning July 1st, Veterans Memorial Drive in Riverside Park will have limited access to traffic. The entrance and east leg of Veterans Memorial Drive will be closed Monday-Friday, 6am-3pm. The west leg, beginning at the Eagle Statue, will be turned into a 2-way street with a turnaround at the driveway on the north end. Larger vehicles or vehicles hauling trailers, campers, RVs, etc., are prohibited on the temporary 2-way street. Traffic will be able to resume use on weekends and after 3pm on weekdays. Please expect delays and use caution when driving through the area. Changed traffic patterns may cause backups at the turnaround and on nearby side streets. This traffic control plan will remain in place for the duration of the project.
The following are currently open:
- Parks, Playgrounds, and Trails
- Skate Park, Disc Golf, and Tennis Courts
- Golf Course
- Canoe/Kayak Rentals at Pettibone Park
- Boat Landings
- For any existing reservations or inquiries for July & August, the La Crosse Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department will refer to the status and recommendations of the COVID-19 Compass Phase on the date of the reservation/event. For example, if someone wishes to make a reservation today for an event on August 22nd, the anticipated guest numbers must fall into the category for the compass status on August 22nd. If the compass status on August 22nd is: severe risk (red), no mass gatherings; if the compass status is high risk (orange), 50 people max; if the compass status is moderate risk (yellow), 50 people max in an indoor shelter and 100 people max in an open air shelter; if the compass status is low risk (green), 100 people max in an indoor shelter and 250 people max in an outdoor shelter. We will continue to honor refunds, credits or reschedule dates as we have been since we do not know from week to week what the compass status will be at the time of each reservation.
- Miller Bluff Closed July 6 & 7: Miller Bluff will be closed Monday, July 6th and Tuesday, July 7th for restoration work. In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and local partners, the City of La Crosse is able to restore 5.87 acres of remnant bluff prairie on Miller Bluff. The project area lies within the monarch butterfly migration corridor, as well as the Mississippi Flyway, and will provide critical breeding, feeding, and migratory stopover habitat for monarch butterflies and other species.
- Due to construction, the Houska Dog Park will be closed in June and July. The smaller dog park at Houska Park will remain open.
- Due to construction, Burns Park will be closed beginning May 26 until further notice.
- Opening and scheduled programming at the new 1407 St. Andrews Street site has been delayed until September.
- The Black River Beach Neighborhood Center will closed through Labor Day (existing reservations will be honored following the shelter information above).
- The South Side Neighborhood Center will be closed for the remainder of 2020.
- The Parks & Recreation Office in City Hall has updated hours: Walk-in hours will be 8:00am-1:00pm, Mondays – Thursdays when City Hall is open to the public. Please note City Hall is currently closed to the public at this time. Phone in hours will remain 8:00am-5:00pm, Mondays – Fridays.
These changes have been determined as the most responsible course of action to maintain our priority of continued safety of visitors and staff. Thank you for understanding these difficult decisions. We look forward to providing the programs and opportunities the community has come to expect from this department in the near future. Please Remember: It is important to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, stay home if you feel sick. For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, we ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.
For additional updates about the City of La Crosse’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.
The City of La Crosse Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department’s Mission is to enrich our community through stewardship of the environment and through provision of quality recreation, facilities and fun.