Hello Recreation Residence permit holders of Pinecrest Basin,
I am writing to you with updates about Forest Closures at Pinecrest. I am sure you are aware that we have had a closure of the day use area, camps, short term lodging, and several other organizations in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. The Forest Service has been working closely with Tuolumne County and State officials to ensure alignment with all state and county health regulations. As you are well aware, Pinecrest is a special and VERY popular recreation site, and we have been working on plans to allow Pinecrest to open but with reduced visitor densities. Our goals have been to allow both public and permitted use, and to share the reduction in visitations across all user groups. As the state rolls back restrictions to recreation and short term lodging, we want to ensure we have plans in place to allow safe openings. Beginning Friday, June 12, we plan on starting to open some facilities at Pinecrest, though you will notice reduced access and operations. These restrictions are being done on a temporary basis to help promote health and safety due to COVID 19.
- We will be closing about half of the public parking in the basin. We will not be able to patrol and police our day use sites to ensure social distancing, but we are trying to reduce the amount of people who will be present so that visitors will have a better chance to socially distance themselves from other parties.
- With agreement from Tuolumne County, the Sheriff, and CHP, the Forest Service will be staffing a checkpoint on Pinecrest Lake Road near the commercial center to help regulate public access to the day use site. Once parking is full, cars will be turned around. The checkpoint will only be staffed during normal business hours, 8:30-4:00. If you need to drive through the checkpoint, simply tell the staff that you are here to access your Recreation Residence and you will be let through.
- We will be closing many roads within the Basin to public access, and multiple roads will be closed by barricade to prevent illegal parking. Permit holders will be granted access to their permitted facilities for appropriate purposes, though may need to enter cabin tracts from an alternate road than normally used. If you need to access your cabin, you will need to complete the attached 7700 form and have a copy of it and the attached parking permit with you. Please display the parking permit in your car.
- Cabin permittees will be limited to two cars per cabin. Cabins on the south shore may park in their designated lot, as well as in parking spaces on Lakeshore past Rustic that have been closed to the public. Cabins on the north shore will be allowed to park on the south side of Pinecrest Avenue. All others should park at their cabins. The boat ramp will be open tomorrow.
- Campgrounds, resorts, and other businesses are allowed by state regulation to open Friday, but in addition to any state or local restrictions, they will initially be restricted to 50% occupancy rates to help reduce visitor density. We have held several conversations with many of the businesses that operate in the Basin, and are grateful for the ongoing cooperation exhibited by all as we seek a path forward towards opening. All permitted businesses are required to follow state and county health guidelines, and you may notice adaptations when you visit them.
- There will be no recreation event permits, group permits, or interpretive programs issued or offered this season. At this time, several of the camps and the Movies at the Amphitheater will not be operating. We ask that if you are accessing your cabin, you try to stay within your permitted facility as much as possible. If using the day use area please follow county and state health guidelines by socially distancing, and visiting during off peak hours to help reduce crowds.
- Forest Service staff will be primarily working to ensure parking is not overrun within the basin. Because of limited personal protective equipment (masks, etc.) and to ensure employee safety, they will be doing few patrols of the day use area. You should not expect that we will be able to enforce all of the rules and regulations in place, and that we (or law enforcement) may only be able to respond to the highest priority emergency calls.
- Bathrooms will continue to be cleaned by contractors, and we are following Regional guidance for COVID 19 cleaning. Visitors will need to bring their own hand sanitizer and soap in the day use area.
I am certain that you have many questions, and that I will not be able to get back to each of you individually, though I will try. If you have permit-specific questions, please email Jaclynn Swope who is assisting us in special uses at Jaclynn.firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-768-1214. Please have patience if you can’t get through right away. Most of our staff is teleworking and we are experiencing a high volume of public and permittee inquiries. Jesika Ellis, your normal permit administrator is on short term assignment off-Forest, and is not available for much of the summer.
We will be adapting this plan as the summer continues, shoring up holes, allowing more or less use as is needed, and doing our best to provide enjoyable, safe recreation access. This season will be very different and will go down in the history books for Pinecrest…just as it is world-wide. I ask that you please respect the regulations, have a high degree of tolerance for Forest Service staff as we try to figure out how to do the unprecedented with too few resources, and do your part to be a good community member of the Pinecrest Basin.
Stanislaus National Forest, Mi-Wok and Summit Ranger Districts
Mi-Wok Ranger District Office: 24695 Highway 108, P.O. Box 100 Mi Wuk Village, CA 95346
Summit Ranger District: #1 Pinecrest Lake Road, Pinecrest CA 95364