Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Close All Developed Recreation Sites in Response to COVID-19
Springerville, AZ – March 23, 2020 – The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests began an orderly closure of developed recreation sites today, Monday, March 23, to protect public health and safety and to align with state and local measures already in place to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Although developed campgrounds, restrooms and other developed recreation facilities on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are closed, the vast majority of the forests will still be available to visitors who want to spend time outdoors. At this time, recreational opportunities that support social distancing and small groups include hiking and biking on trails, and dispersed camping. For more information on available activities, please visit the Interactive Visitor Map: https://www.fs.fed.us/ivm/.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests asks members of the public to recreate responsibly by avoiding high-risk activities, such as rock climbing, that increase the chance of injury or distress. Law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19. In addition, visitors can help mitigate resource impacts while recreation sites are closed by bringing home their trash (pack it in, pack it out), and by appropriately managing human waste by burying it at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water, trails and recreation sites.
“We know how much our communities and our visitors value the recreational opportunities the national forests have to offer,” Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Supervisor Anthony Madrid said. “This decision was not made lightly, but we believe people understand the serious risks posed by facilities that draw large numbers of people into close proximity with each other. We appreciate your patience and understanding of our efforts to mitigate those risks to protect public health and safety.”
The developed recreation site closures will remain in effect until May 1, 2020 and will reevaluate as needed. The Forest Service thanks all visitors and partners for their cooperation. Please report any instances of vandalism to facilities to the local ranger district office.
All Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offices are conducting business and providing services virtually and will continue to coordinate its COVID-19 response in alignment with all federal, state and local guidance. While being outside is believed to be safer than indoor spaces, visitors to national forests are urged to take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended precautions. For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses such as the coronavirus, please visit their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Closed Developed Recreation Sites:
No Campgrounds affected by May 1 date
Black Mesa Campgrounds
Canyon Point Campground
Black Canyon Rim Campground
Crook Group Campground
Woods Canyon Lake Group Campground
Spillway Group Campground
Chevelon Lake Campground
Chevelon Crossing Campground
Coal Creek Campground
Upper Juan Miller
Lower Juan Miller
Scott Reservoir Campground
Lewis Canyon Group Campground
Los Burros Campground
Fool Hollow Campground
Apache Trout Campground
Benny Creek Campground