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SNF Extends Closure Order to June 4; Opens Some Day-Use, Picnic Sites

MOUNTAIN AREA – The Sierra National Forest announced Wednesday (May 20) that most developed recreation sites within the National Forest will remain closed through June 4, 2020. 

The Closure Order does not apply to trails, trailheads and general forest areas — and officials said “dispersed camping remains available and open for public use.”

“Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from your local Forest office,” stated a press release issued Wednesday announcing the Closure Order extension.

Violation of the 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.

SNF officials said they are continuing to consult with state and CDC guidelines, and coordinating with County public health officials as representatives of the State’s Staging plan. “This allows the Sierra National Forest, forest recreation concessionaire California Land Management, permittees and forest partners to continue working with due diligence to prepare and open all recreational facilities to receive visitors when possible.”

“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,” the release also stated.

On May 22, 2020 the following SNF day-use recreation areas on the Bass Lake Ranger District have met the guidelines of the CDC, and state and local agencies, and are scheduled to reopen:

  • Wishon Boating Site
  • The Falls Picnic Site
  • Lakeside Picnic Site
  • Rocky Point Picnic Site
  • Denver Church Picnic Site
  • Little Denver Picnic Site
  • Pine Slope Picnic Site

“Due to an accumulation of over winter debris and additional public safety hazards including hazard trees, all recreation areas on the High Sierra Ranger District will remain closed through this Memorial Day weekend,” the release said. “Crews will continue their work to have additional or all recreation open as soon as possible.”

“In recognition of how important these recreation areas are to the community, county, Valley, and beyond, the SNF works hard toward keeping those areas open. However, when there is a concern for public safety forest managers have to make difficult decisions, and close areas with the highest degree of risk to our visitors. Keeping these sites closed for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees, and local communities remains high priority. Crews will continue their work to have all recreation areas open by June 4 if possible.”

Crews are working expeditiously at what normally would take approximately two to three weeks to open a campground and prepare picnic areas, SNF officials said. “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 SNF and CLM are working hard to expedite the opening of sites while meeting very specific health and safety standards.”

“We recommend exercising close to your home and complying with local and state guidance of not traveling for your recreation needs,” Wednesday’s release also stated.

If you do plan on visiting the SNF, please be aware that:

  • Trash removal is currently offered in select locations – please pack out all trash and waste.
  • Some toilet facilities maybe currently closed – please plan accordingly.

Officials also advised National Forest visitors to “avoid high-risk activities [because] search and rescue operations may be limited.”

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Sierra News Online

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