Issue by Lisa Romano, Public Affairs Staff Officer
Siuslaw National Forest, US Forest Service
Corvallis, OR - After monitoring use at recreation sites across the Siuslaw National Forest, officials have modified the temporary recreation closure enacted last week to address concerns about the spread of COVID-19. To support state and local measures directing people to stay home to save lives, forest officials are now implementing a temporary closure of all developed recreation sites across the forest, with additional area closures limited to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and Sand Lake Recreation Area.
These closures have been deemed necessary to address social distancing guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and the State of Oregon to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid putting undue pressure on local emergency and health care services from increased visitation.
Developed recreation sites include, but aren’t exclusive to, all trailheads, picnic areas, visitor centers, interpretive sites, boat launches, OHV staging areas, and campgrounds. Developed recreation sites may be a complex of sites and their access roads, or could be a trail that has some improvements (such as interpretive signs) along the way. Trailheads are considered developed sites, but most trails are not. At the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and Sand Lake Recreation Area, all recreational use is currently prohibited in support of similar decisions made by Oregon State Parks and local communities to reduce visitation and address the ‘stay home’ direction announced by Governor Kate Brown on March 23rd.
These closures will remain in place until it is deemed safe for employees and the public to reopen recreation sites and areas. The legal closure order lasts until September 30 or until conditions are such that it can be rescinded. Officials will continue to monitor the situation and may modify closures as needed.
The latest updates and information will be posted online. Forest Service offices are currently conducting public business by phone, email, or through web-based transactions; for questions, contact your local office.