Acting Regional Forester to rescind developed recreation closure and fire restriction orders

Forest and Grassland Supervisors will open developed recreation sites, increase access and implement fire restrictions as they deem appropriate based on local conditions

 

Media Contact: USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Press Office, SM.FS.r2press@usda.gov; Barbara Khan, barbara.khan@usda.gov

 

News Release (PDF)

 

(LAKEWOOD, Colo.)  May 15, 2020 – Acting Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien announced today that she has signed termination orders to rescind the regional developed recreation site closure and fire restriction orders effective May 20, 2020. Local units will decide the operational status of developed recreation sites and fire restrictions after assessing conditions and working closely with local, state and federal officials. Decisions will carefully consider local, state, and federal public health guidance, established fire restriction criteria, and staffing levels. The USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region includes 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

 

Before heading outdoors, forests and grassland visitors are encouraged to recreate safely and responsibly by keeping the following in mind:

  • Plan ahead and Know Before You Go. Visitors are encouraged to check with local forest and grassland offices before heading outdoors. Many mid- and high-elevation recreation areas are under snow and remain closed.
  • Come prepared with all the essentials, including food, water and emergency supplies.
  • Stay close to home to keep other communities safe.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • Avoid crowding in parking lots, trails, scenic overlooks and other areas.
  • Take CDC precautions to prevent illnesses like COVID-19.
  • Prepare for limited or no services, such as restroom facilities and garbage collection.
  • Communicate with others as you pass. Alert trail users of your presence and step aside to let others pass.
  • Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.

 

Rocky Mountain Region national forest and grassland-specific status updates, effective Wednesday, May 20, 2020:

 

COLORADO

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland officials will begin to open developed recreation sites after May 31. Some closures will remain in place to allow employees time to prepare facilities, ensure proper personal protective equipment, and obtain ample cleaning supplies. Fire restrictions remain in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/alerts-notices/?cid=FSEPRD719034.

 

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests officials will open developed recreation sites as weather conditions allow. Some recreation sites remain closed and inaccessible due to snow and will open on a site-by-site basis. Fire restrictions are not in effect. Current fire information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/gmug/home/?cid=STELPRDB5420083. Up-to-date campground status is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gmug/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=32366&actid=29.

 

Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands

Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands officials will begin to open developed recreation sites after May 31. Some recreation sites will remain closed and inaccessible due to snow and mud. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/psicc.

 

Rio Grande National Forest

Rio Grande National Forest officials will open several developed recreation sites as necessary personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and staff are available. Some recreation sites may experience a reopening delay. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande.

 

San Juan National Forest

San Juan National Forest officials will open several developed recreation sites as weather conditions allow. Developed recreation sites on the Columbine Ranger district that are within San Juan and La Plata County will remain closed. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan/.

 

White River National Forest

White River National Forest officials will open most developed recreation sites after June 1 depending on conditions. Most trails are currently open with a few exceptions, such as Hanging Lake, which will open June 1 by permit only. Many roads will not open until mid-June due to snow level, resource protection and wildlife restrictions. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/whiteriver/home/?cid=fseprd716054&width=full.

 

NEBRASKA

Nebraska and Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest, Buffalo Gap, Fort Pierre, and Oglala National Grasslands

Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands officials will begin to open developed recreation sites to the public on May 20. Some roads and areas may be closed due to seasonal or flood damage. Overnight camping on the Pine Ridge Ranger District will be limited to areas with existing fire rings. The National Grassland Visitors Center, Hudson Meng Education & Research Center and showers at the main Bessey Ranger District campground will remain closed. Fire restrictions are in effect for the Pine Ridge Ranger District and the Fort Pierre Ranger District. Recreation site information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nebraska/alerts-notices.

 

SOUTH DAKOTA

Black Hills National Forest

Black Hills National Forest officials will open several developed recreation sites as necessary personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and staff are available. Fire restrictions are not in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/blackhills/recreation/camping-cabins.

 

WYOMING

Bighorn National Forest

Bighorn National Forest officials will open developed recreation sites as weather conditions allow. Some recreation sites remain closed and inaccessible due to snow and mud. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/bighorn/alerts-notices.

 

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland officials will open developed recreation sites after May 31 as multiple factors allow. Most developed recreation sites, including campgrounds, day-use sites, visitor centers and picnic areas, are not typically open this time of year due to accessibility. Fire restrictions are not in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbrtb/covid_19.

 

Shoshone National Forest

Shoshone National Forest officials will open developed recreation sites as weather conditions allow and in concurrence with local public health orders. Forest officials will open 16 campgrounds on May 22. Fire restrictions are not in effect. Up-to-date campground information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/shoshone/recreation.

 

For additional specific forest and grassland information, please visit the region’s online outdoor recreation and fire restrictions tool. The online tool provides a one-stop resource for learning about current USDA Forest Service recreation site status updates, alerts, warnings and fire restriction information within the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbr/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD739195