The past weekend on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) saw crowded day use sites, jammed parking areas and heavy visitor traffic through gateway communities, in spite of federal, state and local guidance on social distancing and group size to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
With the Easter holiday ahead, the SFNF asks the public to recreate responsibly on national forests. “Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our employees, our communities and our visitors,” SFNF Supervisor James Melonas said. “Easter weekend is traditionally a very busy time on the forest, but this year we encourage you to stay home, stay safe and save lives. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this challenging time.”
As a reminder, at this time:
· All developed campgrounds on the SFNF are closed to overnight camping.
· All toilet facilities on the forest are locked.
· Some picnic/day use sites are closed to thepublic.
· Trash collection is suspended.
To protect public health and safety, all visitors to the forest are encouraged to:
· Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
· Follow New Mexico state public health ordersand Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest. Stay at least 6 feet away from other visitors and visit in groups of fewer than five people.
· If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Also consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.
· Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.
· Please use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. If necessary, bury human waste at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water, trails and recreation sites to prevent health hazards to our employees and for other visitors.
Visit the Interactive Visitor Map at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/santafe/ivm for more information on available activities and closed sites.
For additional information on COVID-19, go to https://www.coronavirus.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus. Updates on the SFNF response to COVID-19 will also be posted on theSFNF website, Facebook and Twitter.