LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region officials based in Lakewood announced orders to close regional developed recreation sites will be lifted May 20 in Colorado. It’s up to individual Forest Service agencies to decide which sites can actually operate.

It will also be up to those forest and grassland supervisors to decide if fire restrictions will be lifted.

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Photo taken on the trail to Agnes Vaille Falls in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests. (credit: Stan Stiffler)

The Rocky Mountain Region includes 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Officials ask visitors to plan ahead, abide by state health department orders and proper CDC guidelines.

They offer these tips:

  • Plan ahead and Know Before You Go. Visitors are encouraged to check with local forest and grassland offices before heading outdoors. Many mid- and high-elevation recreation areas are under snow and remain closed.
  • Come prepared with all the essentials, including food, water and emergency supplies.
  • 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.
  • Communicate with others as you pass. Alert trail users of your presence and step aside to let others pass.
  • Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.

Below are national forests and grasslands in Colorado. Each details individual plans on developed recreation sites:

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland officials will begin to open developed recreation sites after May 31. Some closures will remain in place to allow employees time to prepare facilities, ensure proper personal protective equipment, and obtain ample cleaning supplies. Fire restrictions remain in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/alerts-notices/?cid=FSEPRD719034.

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests officials will open developed recreation sites as weather conditions allow. Some recreation sites remain closed and inaccessible due to snow and will open on a site-by-site basis. Fire restrictions are not in effect. Current fire information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/gmug/home/?cid=STELPRDB5420083. Up-to-date campground status is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gmug/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=32366&actid=29.

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Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands

Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands officials will begin to open developed recreation sites after May 31. Some recreation sites will remain closed and inaccessible due to snow and mud. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/psicc.

Rio Grande National Forest

Rio Grande National Forest officials will open several developed recreation sites as necessary personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and staff are available. Some recreation sites may experience a reopening delay. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande.

San Juan National Forest

San Juan National Forest officials will open several developed recreation sites as weather conditions allow. Developed recreation sites on the Columbine Ranger district that are within San Juan and La Plata County will remain closed. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan/.

White River National Forest

White River National Forest officials will open most developed recreation sites after June 1 depending on conditions. Most trails are currently open with a few exceptions, such as Hanging Lake, which will open June 1 by permit only. Many roads will not open until mid-June due to snow level, resource protection and wildlife restrictions. Fire restrictions are in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/whiteriver/home/?cid=fseprd716054&width=full.

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland officials will open developed recreation sites after May 31 as multiple factors allow. Most developed recreation sites, including campgrounds, day-use sites, visitor centers and picnic areas, are not typically open this time of year due to accessibility. Fire restrictions are not in effect. Recreation site status information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbrtb/covid_19.

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