Forest service officials have announced that developed recreation sites including cabins, campgrounds, group use sites, picnic areas and restroom facilitates are closed until further notice, effective immediately.
In a press release, officials also said high-risk activities like rock-climbing and backcountry activities that increase the chance of injury or distress should be avoided at this time.
The continued health and safety of visitors, as well as Forest Service employees and volunteers is the utmost priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of our effort the Custer Gallatin National Forest is working to support social distancing guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the State of Montana and South Dakota, and local county health officials across our forest, to help reduce the spread of the virus. To support this, developed recreation sites including cabins, campgrounds, group use sites, picnic areas and restroom facilitates are closed until further notice, effective immediately. This also includes limiting gathering sizes to less than 10 people, under current guidance. For a complete list of all sites closed during this time visit www.fs.usda.gov/custergallatin, click on alerts/closures. Notifications to cabin renters will be made as soon as possible and refunds will be processed.
“We are hopeful these closures, effective immediately provide added precautions that will help to limit the spread from developed facilities to the public and our employees. Visitors to the forest should plan ahead and be prepared that outhouse amenities and developed recreation sites will not be available for use,” said Mary Erickson, Custer Gallatin Forest Supervisor. “Being outdoors is great for our physical, mental and emotional well-being, especially at this time and we support folks getting outside for fresh air, while also doing so responsibly. Some rules of thumb to follow include: if you are sick, stay home; practice social distancing of at least 6 feet, stay local, go during off-peak times, stick to your immediate family members, always practice good hand hygiene, and be kind by saying hello!”
Keep in mind that law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to the COVID-19 situation. High-risk activities such as rock climbing, etc. or backcountry activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.
The Custer Gallatin National Forest will continue to work with local county health officials and closely monitor the COVID-19 situation. As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our number one priority. We are committed to supporting our communities and fulfilling our mission as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of the virus.
Please remember to review current recommendations daily from the Centers for Disease Control, local county health officials in your area and your state’s guidance.