USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has decided to close developed campgrounds on eight National Forests in California to provide consistent COVID-19 mitigation response in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Stay-at-Home Order of Dec. 3, 2020. The eight National Forests are in California’s Southern and San Joaquin zones: Angeles NF, Cleveland NF, Inyo NF, Los Padres NF, San Bernardino NF, Sequoia NF, Sierra NF, and Stanislaus NF. These regional orders will be in effect from Dec. 8, 2020, through Jan. 6, 2021. Additional regional orders affecting other zones are possible as well.
Day use of National Forests will remain open for the health and welfare of Californians. Visitors are urged to follow CDC guidelines to recreate responsibly and check with local National Forests before visiting.
“This order will protect visitors and our employees by reducing exposure to COVID-19 and mitigating the further burden on limited healthcare facilities,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester of the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Campgrounds, like other overnight accommodations, create opportunities for people from differing households and communities to gather, require maintenance and regular cleaning, and entice the public to travel distances far enough from home to necessitate overnight accommodation. Taking those things out of the equation is a prudent measure at this time.”
Regional orders 20-26 and 20-27 can be found here and here. The Pacific Southwest Region’s 18 National Forests align with the state of California’s zones as follows:
Southern – San Bernardino, Los Padres, Cleveland, Angeles, Inyo National Forests
Northern – Mendocino, Modoc, Six Rivers, Shasta-Trinity, Klamath, Lassen National Forests
San Joaquin - Stanislaus, Sierra, Sequoia National Forests
The USDA Forest Service continue to recommend that you not travel long distances to recreate and, again, check with your local National Forest before visiting. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. All visitors should practice self-sufficiency during your visits to national forests. Recreating responsibly will help ensure that expanded access to recreational facilities, services, and opportunities continues. Responsible recreation practices should be maintained at all times, including:
• Research winter road conditions and make sure your vehicle is snow ready;
• Maintaining at least six feet distancing from others;
• Do not gather in groups and please follow the latest guidance from officials;
• Communicate with others as you pass. Alert trail users of your presence and step aside to let others pass;
• Pack out your trash and leave with everything you bring in and use; and
• All services may not be available, so please plan accordingly.