It was announced today that the roads and trails accessing the Stanislaus Forest are closed.
In alignment with current federal, state, and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health safety of its visitors, employees and local communities, the Stanislaus National Forest has extended the seasonal road closure, and closed seven additional roads along with some high-use areas effective April 5, 2020 through April 30, 2020. This closure is in addition to developed recreation sites that were closed on March 26.
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We realize how important the Stanislaus National Forest is to the public, but to protect our visitors, employees and our local communities, we must take steps to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection,” said Jason Kuiken, Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor. “Typically, the forest and local counties welcome visitors, as tourism is the economic driver for the local area. With COVID-19, however, we join our local partners in their concern regarding the potential for a large outbreak of COVID-19 and our ability to successfully respond as rural communities.”
Kuiken also noted that the forest will not issue wilderness permits, required for overnight camping in wilderness areas while Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Shelter-in-Place Executive Order is in effect. “If an overnight visitor were to become injured or ill in a remote location, local search and rescue efforts may be delayed, since the COVID-19 virus will strain medical and law enforcement resources.”
While designated recreation sites and roads will be closed, the general forest area, including the extensive trail system will remain open and available to the public. Hiking and walking outdoors are widely considered beneficial to maintaining one’s health. While trails will remain open. visitors are urged to respect Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place executive order and recreate locally. However, it is the intent of USDA Forest Service to maintain trail access to the extent practicable.
These closures will be in effect until April 30, 2020 and will address public health and safety concerns related to Forest visitors in their pursuit of recreation opportunities. A violation of these prohibitions 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. 16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581. Forest Order STF-16-2020-01.
Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. We ask that you consider whether your personal participation in outdoor recreation at this time would pose an unnecessary risk to others as we all work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The USDA Forest Service may need to temporarily suspend access to additional recreation areas that attract large crowds and cannot meet social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so that these areas can remain open for everyone’s enjoyment.
For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
For up-to-date information on the Stanislaus National Forest, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/stanislaus.