Although trails throughout the San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests in Riverside County remain open while campgrounds are closed due to the coronavirus, U.S. Forest Service officials are recommending that visitors stay “close to home” instead of venturing long distances for recreation, as a precaution.
Last week, the USFS closed winter campsites, as well as “yellow post” sites available for individual tents and picnic areas in the preserves. The closure orders were issued in deference to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 19 shelter-in-place proclamation urging all individuals not employed in “essential” functions to stay at home as much as possible to comply with COVID-19 containment efforts.
All federal forest trails remain open and accessible, though rangers are emphasizing the need to observe social distancing guidelines.
“Outdoor recreation can be beneficial for your health but must be practiced safely,” according to a USFS statement. “We recommend exercising close to your home and complying with local and state guidance for not traveling for your recreation needs. If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Stay safe.”
Most of the large campgrounds within the San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests were not due to open until Memorial Day weekend, and it is now uncertain whether visitors will be accepted at that time.
Violators of the closure orders could face fines.
More information is available at www.fs.usda.gov/.