Blue Mountains forests close developed recreation sites to support governors’ stay-at-home orders and protect public health

Contact(s): Peter Fargo, Travis Mason-Bushman

JOHN DAY, PENDLETON, and BAKER CITY, Ore. – The Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests are temporarily closing all developed recreation sites, to align with direction from state governors to stay home, stay safe, and save lives during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The closure applies to campgrounds, trailhead facilities, picnic areas, rental cabins, Sno-Parks, and boat ramps across the Forests’ shared footprint in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Forest roads, trails, and general forest lands remain open to the public, but all visitors are strongly urged to practice social distancing.

The three National Forests in the Blue Mountains are jointly taking these measures to encourage compliance with Centers for Disease Control guidance on social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The governors of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho have called for residents to stay home and avoid any non-essential travel or gatherings. Additionally, these closures will reduce potential pressure on emergency services in rural communities. Those who become lost, injured, or otherwise in need of assistance while recreating in the forest may strain limited search, rescue, and healthcare resources at a time when there are no resources to spare.

We recognize the impact that these closures will have on people looking to the outdoors for a respite from these challenging times, but protecting community health and safety is our first priority. This action will significantly reduce risks to forest visitors, employees, volunteers, and contractors from coronavirus.

While developed recreation sites are closed, the National Forests are currently open. At this time, commercial and private activities, such as timber harvest, grazing, and dispersed recreation, may continue.

All reservations made for forest recreation facilities during the temporary closure will be fully refunded.

Access to forest offices is temporarily restricted; however, customer service is available by phone or e-mail. For forest-specific information please contact:

Malheur National Forest:


Supervisor’s Office: John Day (541) 620-8591; Prairie City (541) 820-3810; Hines (541) 620-8508

Twitter: @MalheurNF

Umatilla National Forest:


Supervisor’s Office:  (541) 278-3716

Twitter: @UmatillaNF

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest:


Baker City (541) 523-6391; La Grande (541) 962-8500; Joseph (541) 426-5546

Twitter: @WallowaWhitman