National Forests in Michigan Shut Recreation Sites

Contact(s): Janel Crooks


GLADSTONE, MI -- In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health and safety of employees, visitors and volunteers, the Hiawatha, Huron-Manistee and Ottawa National Forests are shutting down developed recreation facilities (e.g. Clear Lake Education Center, lighthouses) and restrooms, as well as suspending trash pick-up indefinitely effective immediately. In addition, on the Hiawatha and Ottawa, all overnight use is shut down and no campfires are allowed, in order to minimize the risk to first responders in the event of wildfire.

For more information on the status of our recreation sites, please visit https:/fs.usda.gov/Hiawatha or contact one of our offices (https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/hiawatha/about-forest/offices). When you recreate, please keep in mind to:

  • Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest.
  • Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.
  • Please make arrangements to use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. Unmanaged waste creates a health hazard for our employees and for other visitors.
  • If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Also consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.

The US Forest Service asks the public to please recreate responsibly. Law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High-risk activities such as rock climbing, etc. or backcountry activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided. Please remember to pack-out what you pack-in.

“We are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff,” said Hiawatha Forest Supervisor Cid Morgan. “We are following the guidelines from our department and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions.”

As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our number one priority. We are committed to continuing to support our communities and fulfill our mission as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19. We also encourage you to follow public health guidelines regarding social distancing while you recreate in National Forests. Visitors to our National Forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/hiawatha/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD723174