Developed recreational sites on federal land, including in the San Juan National Forest, will start to reopen in upcoming days after more than a month of COVID-19-related closures.

According to an official press release, Columbine, Dolores, and Pagosa Ranger Districts will allow specific outdoor recreation sites to reopen on Friday, May 22. Chimney Rock National Monument is also scheduled to reopen on June 1, with limited services.

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland officials announced on Monday that developed recreational site closures and fire restrictions will remain in place through May 31.

Trails, trailheads, and general forest areas remain open to the public. Those who plan to visit are asked to recreate responsibly and adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Stay close to home to keep other communities safe.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • Avoid crowding in parking lots, trails, scenic overlooks and other areas.
  • Take CDC precautions to prevent illnesses like COVID-19.
  • Prepare for limited or no services, such as restroom facilities and garbage collection.
  • Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.

“While we understand there may be some excitement from the public to return to beloved recreation areas, please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe,” said San Juan National Forest Supervisor Kara Chadwick. “There is still work to be done – ensuring cleanliness of facilities, conducting proper maintenance, and assessing recreation areas for health and safety.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Travel to other towns and the mountains is strongly discouraged. Entry into the backcountry is also ill-advised. During the statewide “safer-at-home” order, please continue to recreate close to home within a 10-mile radius and avoid risky activities that could potentially strain first responders and search and rescue teams. Always follow official state and county orders as well as social distancing guidelines.

For a full list of open areas and up-to-date information, including orders, please visit individual forest websites and social media pages.

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