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Forest Service closing ‘developed recreation sites’ to public in national forests

Forest Service closing ‘developed recreation sites’ to public in national forests

Figueroa Mountain sign, Los Padres National Forest

A pickup truck heads up toward the Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area in Los Padres National Forest in this photo from 2018. The U.S. Forest Service has closed all "developed recreation facilities" to the public in California's national forests.

The Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S Forest Service has closed developed recreation facilities on national forests statewide in response to the effort to halt the spread of COVID-19, an agency spokesman said.

“Developed recreation sites” refers to recreational use areas designed to facilitate public use, said Andrew Madsen, public information officer for Los Padres National Forest.

The closures will remain in effect until at least April 30 to prevent groups of people gathering and to promote social distancing of six feet between individuals, Madsen said.

Although designated recreation sites will be closed, the general forest area, including the extensive trail system, will remain open to the public, as hiking and walking outdoors are considered beneficial to maintaining one’s health, he said.

However, the Forest Service is asking the public to keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting national forests.

Madsen said it’s every individual’s personal responsibility to ensure public safety and prevent further restrictions by considering whether their personal participation in outdoor recreation would pose an unnecessary risk to others.

Information on individual recreation sites in Los Padres National Forest is available at www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/ and for other national forests on their websites.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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