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The Missouri Department of Conservation decided to extend the temporary closures of its facilities and the waiver for fishing permit requirements, according to a statement released Thursday, April 9.

The MDC temporarily closed its regional offices, department headquarters in Jefferson City, staffed shooting ranges, nature centers, visitor centers and educational centers in March as a response to COVID-19 concerns.

According to a press release, the MDC offices are closed to the public but those locations will still be staffed. Conservation areas, nature center trails, and boat accesses remain open to the public.

The statement states that hunting, fishing, and trapping seasons will continue as scheduled. MDC managed hunts and mentored spring turkey hunts have also not been canceled.

The MDC extended the waiver for fishing without a permit or daily trout tag through April 15, but it also suspended daily trout stocking and most other types of fish stocking at all trout parks until further notice.

The James Foundation closed Maramec Spring Park in St. James to the public for all activities, including trout fishing. Bennett Spring State Park in Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking and Roaring River State Park near Cassville will remain open.

The MDC advises people to take the following actions:

• If you have been sick in the last two weeks, stay home for your health and the safety of others.

• Travel in a small group of 10 people or fewer.

• If a conservation area looks crowded or an area parking lot is full, do not stop and find another less-crowded location.

• Keep a proper physical distance of at least six feet while visiting areas and especially on trails.

• Avoid popular spots where people congregate, such as scenic overlooks, fishing docks, etc.

• Pack water, soap and/or hand sanitizer.

Get more information on best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or mac.moore@mycouriertribune.com.

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