Campgrounds and picnic areas in CA’s national forests closed until April 30; trails remain open

California
Access to the Charlton Flat campground is blocked by a locked gate in the Angeles National Forest on Oct. 2, 2013, in the San Gabriel Mountains, northeast of Los Angeles. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Access to the Charlton Flat campground is blocked by a locked gate in the Angeles National Forest on Oct. 2, 2013, in the San Gabriel Mountains, northeast of Los Angeles. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The U.S. Forest Service has closed developed recreation sites in California until April 30 in response to the statewide stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Thursday.

The weekslong closure, which may be extended, is an attempt to prevent gatherings of groups and to promote social distancing, the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service said in a press release Wednesday.

The closed developed recreation areas include campgrounds and picnic areas.

While the recreation sites will be closed, general National Forest areas, including hiking trails and trailheads, will remain open and available to the public, officials said.

“It is the intent of USDA Forest Service to maintain trail access to the extent practicable,” the agency said.

The Forest Service emphasized that personal responsibility is critical in ensuring public safety and in 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 agency said.

The closures come after Runyon Canyon Park in the Hollywood Hills closed Wednesday, and after Los Angeles County announced it was shutting down trails. Those orders were in response to crowded outdoor conditions over the previous weekend, officials said.

Yosemite National Park also closed indefinitely, the National Park Service announced.

The Forest Service manages more than 20 sprawling forests and other scenic area in California. That list includes the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests in Southern California.

Information on individual recreation sites can be found on the Forest Service’s website.

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