CLOVIS — The Closure Order issued on March 25 for all developed recreation sites across the Sierra National Forest remains in effect through Thursday (April 30) — and will “likely stay in place through the middle of May.” Additional details regarding the timeline for lifting the Closure Order “will follow later this week,” according to a press release issued today by SNF officials.
“The USDA Forest Service’s highest priority is ensuring our employees, local communities, and visitors remain safe as we support mission critical functions for the people and communities we serve,” the release stated.
Areas that are closed for visitor use are developed recreation areas in the forest such as campgrounds, picnic areas (including all tables, bbq/fire pits), bathrooms and water stations, paved parking areas and boat launch ramps.
“This closure does exclude hiking trails, areas that function as a trailhead for dispersed recreation, and dispersed camping,” Wednesday’s release said. “When choosing parking locations for your recreation please do so with care. Choose a location that is clear of the roadway, and not causing damage to forest resources.”
“While these specific areas remain open for use, we recommend complying with local and state guidance and not traveling for your recreation needs,” the release also stated.
If you do plan on visiting the SNF please be aware that:
• YOU SHOULD AVOID HIGH-RISK ACTIVITIES – Law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High-risk activities such as backcountry activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.
• NO TRASH removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste www.int.org
• ALL TOILET FACILITIES are currently closed – please plan accordingly. All human waste and tissues should be placed in a plastic bag and taken with you – LEAVE NO TRACE www.lnt.org.
• AVOID Large Gatherings – If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location
Forest officials would like to provide these TREAD LIGHTLY principles to ALL visitors to the National Forest:
T – Travel Responsibly, obey the rules of the road or trails
R – Respect the Rights of Others, please practice physical distancing
E – Educate Yourself, know before you go
A – Avoid Sensitive Areas – do not create your own trails, or parking areas
D – Do Your Part – call ahead to determine where you can go
“Closing any site for any reason is not one we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopening closed sites.”
For more information, please contact:
Bass Lake Ranger District Office – 559-877-2218, open Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
High Sierra Ranger District Office – 559-855-5355, open Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Forest Supervisors Office – 559-297-0706, open Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
To remain informed on all SNF closures and activities, go to www.fs.usda.gov/sierra — or visit SNF’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SierraNF and Twitter at www.twitter.com/SierraNF.