Forest Service Takes Steps To Protect Communities From Spread Of COVID-19

 

SANTA FE, NM – In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has added additional developed recreation sites to the region-wide closure order on occupancy and use restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

On March 30, the Forest Service temporarily shut down several developed recreation sites and restroom facilities across all five national forests in New Mexico to protect the public and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to lessen the risk posed by large groups of people congregating in popular areas, the Forest Service has shut down additional recreation sites. Visit the Interactive Visitor Map at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ivm or view the full closure order for more information.

While many developed recreation sites are closed, most trailheads are open now or will be when the snow melts, including those that originate on or near developed campgrounds. Additionally, dispersed camping outside developed sites is still an option. The SFNF asks the public to recreate responsibly on the national forest.

“We encourage the public to stay home, stay safe and save lives. But if you do decide to visit the forest, please recreate responsibly by practicing social distancing guidelines and ‘leave no trace’ principles,” SFNF Supervisor James Melonas said. “We appreciate your patience as we work together to keep the forest accessible while doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

As a reminder, at this time:

  • All developed campgrounds on the SFNF are closed to overnight camping.
  • All toilet facilities on the forest are locked.
  • Some picnic/day use sites are closed to the public.
  • Trash collection is suspended.

To protect public health and safety, all visitors to the forest are encouraged to:

  • Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow New Mexico state public health orders and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest. Stay at least 6 feet away from other visitors and visit in groups of fewer than five people.
  • If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Also consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.
  • Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.
  • Please use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. If necessary, bury human waste at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water, trails and recreation sites to prevent health hazards to our employees and for other visitors.

For additional information on COVID-19, go to https://www.coronavirus.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

 

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