Wilson's Creek National Battlefield increases visitor access with live public events

The Rolla Daily News

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is increasing visitor services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield will increase access to visitor services with the resumption of some face-to-face public events on Saturday. The park will host an artillery firing demonstration and living history from the 8th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.

•The artillery firing will occur once an hour, on the hour, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

•The 8th Missouri State Militia Cavalry will do dismounted drills throughout the day.

•Both groups will be at Stop 5 on the park tour road.

•The events on Saturday are free. Park entry fees also continue to be waived.

Additional free public events tentatively are planned on the following dates:

•June 23: Unveiling of Henry rifle purchased by the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation, 1 p.m. at Stop 5 on Park Tour Road

•July 4: Artillery firing demonstrations

•July 18: Artillery firing demonstrations

•Aug. 8-9: Holmes Brigade living history demonstrations

•Aug. 10: Battle Anniversary (virtual online event)

•Aug. 22: Artillery firing demonstrations

•Sept. 5-6: 3rd Louisiana Infantry living history demonstrations (small-arms firing)

•Sept. 7: Parade of the American Soldier military timeline demonstration

•Sept. 26: Artillery firing demonstrations

•Oct. 17: Moonlight Tour (virtual online event)

•Dec. 12: Luminary

Visitors should be aware that scheduled events may be postponed or cancelled based on updated guidance for COVID-19 response. For more information about these events, see the park’s website calendar: https://www.nps.gov/wicr/planyourvisit/calendar.htm

The park also has welcomed back interpretive staff and key volunteers, who will be roving the park and providing some limited visitor contacts in outdoor areas only.

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield reopened recreational access on May 7 to the following areas, which remain open between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week:

•Tour Road


•Trails (including horseback riding)

Entry fees are waived. With public health in mind, however, the following facilities also remain closed at this time:

•Temporary visitor center


Because of ongoing renovations at the park’s permanent visitor center, the following facilities remain closed:

•Permanent visitor center and bookstore

•Permanent visitor center bathrooms

•Museum exhibits


Portable restrooms with a hand washing station are available in the parking area near the main gate. Wilsons’s Creek National Battlefield said visitors should continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene. Visitors are encouraged to use masks, but wearing masks is not required at this time. 

While some areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield’s operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. 

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and will take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.  

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield also has virtual tours and digital educational materials available for the public. Check out the virtual tour page and the Virtual Civil War digital curriculum materials at https://www.nps.gov/wicr/learn/education/index.htm.

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield website at https://www.nps.gov/wicr/index.htm and Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Wilsons-Creek-National-Battlefield-140802912626881/posts/?ref=page_internal.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

Wilson’s Creek Administrative Office is located 10 miles southwest of Springfield, Missouri at 5242 S. State Hwy ZZ, Republic.