TRAILS IN CALIFORNIA BLM/FOREST LAND REMAIN OPEN, SOME CAMPING Will CLOSE
Ride areas and parks are closing by the day, but we do have good news. According to the National Forest Service and California’s BLM, the trails will remain open. However, camping in improved campsites is not allowed and is actually subject to a $10,000 fine per family or $5,000 for an individual in the forest.
Improved areas are those fenced off and contained bathrooms, picnic table etc. So, as we read both statements, unimproved or dispersed camping which is very common in desert and dune areas is still allowed. Most camping in California’s National Forests are Improved and shut down. We also expect state ride areas, places with lockable entrances, to close if they are not already. Regardless, stay safe and remember these guidelines for off roading and social distancing. If you don’t know the difference between BLM land and Forest Service land; we always refer to BLM land as the desert or valley floor to the foothills and National Forest Land as anything above that.
Here’s a note from the Sierra National Forest Service California. Expect the other National Forest regions to follow suit as San Bernardino NF already has.
What trails are closing in the National Forests? The Forest Service is closing developed recreation facilities on our National Forests statewide until at least April 30 in an attempt to avoid groups of people and promote social distancing of staying more than six feet apart. This includes sites on the San Bernardino National Forest, such as campgrounds and picnic areas.
The general Forest area, including the extensive trail system, will remain open and available to the public. It is the intent of USDA Forest Service to maintain trail access to the extent practicable.
Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and 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.
We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our National Forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.
As for the California office of the BLM:
The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains the number one priority of the Bureau of Land Management. In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the Governor’s shelter in place order, the BLM will temporarily close all developed campgrounds and developed recreation sites in California, to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
The closure is effective immediately and will remain in effect until such time as conditions allow for safe use of the recreation areas. While developed recreation sites are closed, dispersed camping and trails remain open and available to the public.
Visitors may continue to enjoy BLM-managed public lands in a safe and responsible manner. We recommend visiting areas close to home while avoiding very popular or crowded locations where social distancing may be difficult and limiting group activities to members of your household. Please note that existing rules and regulations apply. Entrance fees have been waived. Other fees, such as cabin rentals, group day use, and use of special areas will remain in effect.
The BLM urges visitors to do their part when visiting your public lands as some visitor services may be limited due to limited staff availability in some areas. We recommend:
- bringing your own supplies such as disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper
- packing out your trash
- reducing the handling of cash by paying recreation fees through Recreation.gov or with a check, where available
- maintain a safe distance between yourself and other groups
- limit your group to 10 people or less
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; or use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash your hands
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- stay home if you feel sick
*** Please note that the BLM will be responsive to changing circumstances, and this information may change at any time. We will do our best to update this information but recommend that you also contact local offices.***
Public Rooms and Visitor Centers
The BLM is temporarily restricting in-person public access to visitor centers and public rooms in our California offices. Please check with individual offices regarding customer services available by phone or email. Visit https://on.doi.gov/38ZT5OI for a complete list of contact information.