In a press release released today, The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, announced that most developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 15. 2020. This includes the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest.
The order does not close trails, trailheads, and general forest areas; these areas will remain accessible for public use. In the San Bernardino National Forest all developed recreation sites, such as picnic areas and campgrounds, are closed. Trailheads and OHV staging areas remain open, however if the they have a picnic area, those facilities are closed. Camping at staging areas is also not allowed at this time. The Big Bear Discovery Center and all visitors centers are closed. Follow this link for more INFORMATION.
As of April 30, the Angeles National Forest has posted the following announcement on their WEBSITE: “Effective April 30, 2020 – We have extended the closure of 4 formal trailheads and 23 informal trail access points, resulting in a larger closure of 23 trails and 19 roads. In total, this results in closure of 81.5 miles of trail (out of 760 open miles) and 54.5 miles of road. The closure does not close the ability to walk on to National Forest System land but does restrict access to roughly 40,000 out of 700,000 acres of the Angeles.” Please visit their website for additional and updated information about what areas are open and which are closed.
The Forest Service understands outdoor recreation can be beneficial to mental and physical health, but warns that it must be practiced safely. In light of the statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, the Forest Service is asking visitors to recreate locally. Many small mountain communities have limited resources and limited space to adequately practice social distancing which could put local residents at unnecessary risk.
Visitors to the the National Forests should be aware that there is no trash removal at this time and everyone should pack out their trash and waste. Visitors should avoid high-risk activities because law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited. Additionally, if an area is crowded doesn’t allow for proper social distancing, search for a less occupied location.
The Forest Service does not take closing any site for any reason lightly. However, protecting their visitors and employees remains their highest priority. Forest Service officials are working with state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen closed sites.