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Forest Service Closes Developed Recreation Sites Across Oregon And Washington

Chris Lehman

All U.S. Forest Service developed recreation sites in Oregon and Washington are now closed to the public in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The closure order applies to day-use sites, campgrounds, trailheads, boat ramps, fire lookouts and OHV areas.

“If we do come across people in closed areas, we will inform them of the closure order and ask them to leave," said Tom Ibsen, the Developed Recreation Program Manager for the Pacific Northwest Regional Office for the Forest Service. "If visitors do not adhere to a warning, officers may issue a citation.”

Ibsen says the forests themselves technically remain open to the public. But he says the Forest Service hopes people will observe the executive orders from both the Oregon and Washington governors to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary.

The orders don't specifically ban outdoor recreation, but public health officials are urging people to maintain social distancing protocols while outdoors, and find recreation spots that are relatively close to home.

The Forest Service closures are technically in effect until September 30, but that date could be changed as conditions permit. State parks in both Oregon and Washington are also closed indefinitely.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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