In an effort to curb the risks of spreading the coronavirus and to avoid accidents that might require medical attention, the US Forest Service has implemented a temporary halt to volunteer work in our forests to protect as many people as possible.
Effective immediately, all volunteer field work is suspended in the Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest and the Crooked River Grasslands, all managed by the USFS. It’s our understanding this ‘stand down’ will be in effect through May 8th, at least.
To be clear, this means the forests are closed to volunteer trail/field work, whether in groups or individually.
Thanks for your understanding and patience. Stay safe and healthy. And hang in there - we're as anxious as you are to get back out there!
March 28, 2020
Effective March 27, 2020, coronavirus-related closures and restrictions for public lands managed by the USFS and BLM have been put in place. COTA will continue to update this article as changes occur.
Central Oregon National Forests Temporarily Close All Developed Recreation Sites
USFS Central Ore. — March 27, 2020 — To align with Governor Brown’s executive order directing people to stay home to save lives, the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland have temporarily closed all developed recreation sites, to include campgrounds, day-use sites, boat ramps, trailheads, Sno-Parks, fire lookouts, and OHV areas.
These recreation closures are necessary to address social distancing guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control, align with Oregon State Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order to avoid unnecessary travel, including travel for recreational purposes, and reduce pressure on emergency services in local communities. [press release attached below]
COTA has received clarification from the USFS/Bend office:
- Trailheads are closed; do not drive to or park nearby.
- Forest Service roads and singletrack trails are still open at this time.
- Ride from your back door only. Skip shuttling or carpools, or driving out to trails.
PLEASE follow these suggestions:
- Ride solo or with 1-2 others, maintain 6+ feet physical distance between you!
- Ideally, ride forest service roads INSTEAD of singletrack. Some trails are still experiencing freeze/thaw soggy conditions. Plus you simply CAN'T pass safely on singletrack without riding wide. Don't do it. Protect yourself, protect others, protect nature.
- Ride easy....the ER & Urgent Care Centers do NOT want more customers.
You can find all kinds of gravel riding routes on Dirty Freehub's website here.
BLM Prineville District temporarily closes some recreation facilities and areas
Central Oregon – The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains the number one priority of the Bureau of Land Management. Consistent with the closures already put forward by our partners, as well as with the guidance provided by the CDC and Governor Brown’s Stay at Home Executive Order No. 20-12, the Prineville District is temporarily closing access and use of many of its developed recreation facilities to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
These closures include boating on the Lower Deschutes and John Day Wild and Scenic Rivers. The river closures will also include bathrooms at developed recreation areas as well as boat launches. Access to day-use sites, trails, and all roads remains open.
In addition, outside of the Lower Deschutes and John Day Rivers, restroom facilities at all developed recreation sites will be closed, and all developed campgrounds will be temporarily closed to overnight camping as of 12:01 AM on April 1, 2020. Trash pickup and sanitation services on most of these recreation facilities will also be temporarily suspended. Access to day-use sites including trailheads is still available. Visitors currently in campgrounds will have until 12:01 a.m. April 1, 2020 to leave. Sites remaining open for day-use (hiking, mountain biking, etc.) will be posted with measures for safe recreation.
Despite facility closures, millions of acres of BLM-managed public lands across Oregon remain open to enjoy. We encourage all visitors, particularly those who are elderly, have underlying health conditions, or are otherwise vulnerable, to make smart decisions and follow CDC guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Source: KTVZ Channel 21, Bend.
Stay safe & healthy, everyone☘️