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Forest Service Extends Closure of Recreation Sites through May 15

MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES – The U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday that most of its developed recreation sites in California, including those in the Sierra National Forest in eastern Madera County, will remain closed through May 15.

The order does not close trails, trailheads and general forest areas; these areas remain accessible for public use.

Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from local National Forests.

“Outdoor recreation can be beneficial to mental and physical health but must be practiced safely. In light of the statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, we continue to ask visitors to recreate locally,” said a Forest Service press release.

If you do plan on visiting the National Forest please be aware that:

  • No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste
  • All toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordingly
  • Avoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited
  • If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location

“Closing any site for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority,” Thursday’s press release also said. “We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen closed sites.”

Violation of the Closure Order is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and six months in prison.

Here is the complete Closure Order extension:

Regional Order No. 20-03
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Region

Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a), and to provide for public safety, the following act is
prohibited on National Forest System lands under my jurisdiction within the Pacific Southwest Region.

This Order is effective from May 1, 2020, through May 15, 2020.

Entering or using a Developed Recreation Site or portion thereof, except trailheads.
36 CFR 261.58(b).

Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:

1. Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire
fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

2. Persons with a Forest Permit for Use of Roads, Trails, or Areas Restricted by
Regulation or Order, Form FS-7700-48, specifically exempting them from the
effect of this Order.

This prohibition is in addition to the general prohibitions contained in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.
A violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or
$10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both. 16 USC 551 and
18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581.



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