The USDA Forest Service will maintain its alignment with state “Stay at Home” orders and the first phase of Washington state’s “Reopening of America” plan by conducting a comprehensive review of the agency’s developed recreation sites in Washington in the coming weeks. The agency aims to lift select closures at many Washington national forest trailheads and developed recreation sites by late May.
Across most of the National Forests in Oregon and Washington, Forest Service roads, trails and dispersed areas and trails are open. Hunting and fishing are also allowed in undeveloped areas on National Forest lands in accordance with state laws and if the area isn’t affected by a closure order.
Forest supervisors and staff have begun assessing recreation areas and are planning how to safely reopen areas and facilities in a phased manner.
“Many of these sites have been closed all winter. There is pre-work we need to perform before we can open them,” said Glenn Casamassa, regional forester for the Pacific Northwest Region of the USDA Forest Service. “Some work was delayed due to the operational challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to take deliberate actions which consider community impacts and the safety of our employees and volunteers before we make the decision to reopen each location.”
When sites reopen, forest visitors should be prepared to be self-sufficient as possible, since services – including visitor centers, restrooms, and trash collection – will remain unavailable.