Campgrounds prepare for season, fishing opener; implement social distancing guidelines

Campgrounds prepare for season, fishing opener; implement social distancing guidelines

CLEVELAND, Minn. (KEYC) — Area campgrounds and resorts are preparing for potential campers and the Governor’s Fishing Opener this weekend.

With temperatures warming up, and the Minnesota Fishing Opener kicking off this weekend, area campgrounds like Beaver Dam Resort near Cleveland, are gearing up to open their facilities to those itching to get outside.

But many campgrounds like Beaver Dam can only partially open their up their amenities because of social-distancing guidelines - which hurts business.

“Our season is a short window to make our money and pay our bills for the year, and now this," said resort owner Chuck Fenger. "With the last couple of years with the no wakes out here on the lake and the high water and all those scenarios, it hurts.”

Beaver Dam has been following safety guidelines by cleaning its docks and any other space used by customers, but it’s been forced to close its shower house and laundry - including no camping on weekends.

“Right now, just the campground’s open," said Fenger. "The store will open up this weekend - that’s usually opening day for the fishing opener - so there will be some different things. There’s going to be a lighter menu and probably not everything right out of the gate, but we’ll try to get a few things so our customers, campers and anybody around the lakes can come here and get bait and whatever else they may need that we would have at this time.”

Beaver Dam has also implemented safety measures in its fish cleaning house, which now limits one family at a time with strict disinfecting procedures.

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“The last few weeks have been busy out here,” said Fenger. “Probably busier than it ever is for this early in the year. People have been doing a fairly good job trying to social distance and they understand what they have to do, but again, I just think people are ready to get out of the house.”

Fenger says he’s contacted other resort owners who say they’re in similar situations, but despite some hardships, they’re thankful they can at least partially remain open.

“We’re family-owned and I think there’s a lot of businesses getting left behind, but again, it’s hard," said Fenger. It’s a hard situation and it’s going to be a tight year if I can’t fully open up.”

Beaver Dam Resort has applied for loans from the state, which they haven’t received, but hopefully, with more time on everyone’s hands, they’ll get more business.

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