Temporary closures at Wayne National Forest

The Portsmouth Daily Times, Ohio - (TNS)

NELSONVILLE – In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, the Wayne National Forest has temporarily closed or delayed the opening of all developed campgrounds, camping at trailheads, and trail use by off-highway vehicles (OHVs), equestrians, and mountain bikes.

“As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, the health and safety of the public and our employees is our number one priority. This closure order will be lifted as soon as it is safe to begin operations again,” said Forest Supervisor Carrie Gilbert. “We did not make this decision lightly, and we appreciate people’s understanding and cooperation.”

To discourage crowds and meet social distancing guidelines, developed campgrounds are closed, along with restroom facilities and trash receptacles. Trailheads and boat ramps will remain open as long as groups remain small. Dispersed camping is prohibited at trailheads. The opening of trail use to OHVs, equestrians, and mountain bikes on designated trails, originally scheduled for April 15, has been delayed until further notice.

Trails continue to be open to hiking, but visitors are advised to practice social distancing and “pack-it-in, pack-it-out” principles. OHV pass sales are temporarily suspended.

To protect public health and safety, visitors are encouraged to follow these instructions:

• Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

• Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest.

• Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash receptacles are closed, and litter can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.

• Please make arrangements to use the restroom before and/or after your visit to the forest. Unmanaged waste creates a health hazard for our employees and for other visitors.

• If an area is crowded, search for a less occupied location, or consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.

Effective immediately, the following group-use areas are temporarily shut down and unavailable to reserve via Recreation.gov:

• Leith Run Recreation Area – Athens Ranger District, Washington County, Ohio.

• Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area – Oak Hill, Iron Ridge, and Pine Knob Campgrounds and Two Points Group Campground – Ironton Ranger District, Lawrence County, Ohio.

In the event of a delayed opening, visitors will receive a refund for canceled reservations.

The Portsmouth Daily Times, Ohio


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