MOUNTAIN AREA – The Sierra National Forest announced Friday (May 15) that developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 21, 2020.
The purpose of the Closure Order extension is to “protect public and employee health and safety, along with protection of natural and cultural resources, by closing designated developed recreation sites on the Sierra National Forest from May 16th – May 21st, 2020,” said a release issued by the agency.
“While continuing to follow state and CDC guidelines, and coordinating with County Public Health Officials as representatives of the State’s Staging plan will allow the Sierra National Forest (SNF), forest recreation concessioner California Land Management (CLM), permittees, and forest partners an opportunity to prepare these recreational facilities to receive visitors,” the release also stated.
Click here for a partial list of sites impacted by the Closure Order.
Both SNF and CLM officials say they have begun to gather the necessary resources and personnel to bring the recreation sites back to life.
“It’s every bit the intention of this order during this time that we continue to protect employees, permittees, our partners, and the health and well-being of the local communities,” said the release.
Normally, it takes approximately two to three weeks to open a campground and prepare picnic areas. This work includes removing hazard trees, brushing and sweeping the roads, cleaning sites, fire rings, and restrooms, and turning on and testing water systems.
“The Forest Service and CLM are working hard to expedite the opening of sites while meeting safety standards,” the release said.
“Working to open these recreational facilities is a priority but, must be accomplished safely to allow our many visitors to begin their forest adventures. We do understand outdoor recreation can be beneficial for your health, your continued patience and understanding is appreciated as we get to work to open more forest locations for your recreational activities.”
Violation of the Closure Order is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.
The Closure Order does not apply to trails, trailheads and general forest areas, which remain open for public use.
Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from local National Forests.
If you do plan on visiting the Sierra 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 – search and rescue operations may be limited
- If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location
“We would like to also remind our visitors that all SNF offices remain physically closed during this time, however we do have staff working virtually to assist with your information needs.
Virtual office hours and phone contacts are s follows:
High Sierra Ranger District — 559-855-5355 — Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bass Lake Ranger District — 559-877-2218 — Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Forest Supervisors Office… 559-297-0706 — Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Here is the Closure Order extension:
Forest Order No. 05-15-00-20-01
Sierra National Forest
Developed Recreation Site Closure Order
Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a), and to protect natural resources and provide for public safety, the following act is prohibited within the Sierra National Forest. This Order is effective from May 15, 2020, through May 21, 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 or 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 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 six months, or both.
Executed in Clovis, California on May 14, 2019.