Temporary recreation site closures extended for Bridger-Teton National Forest

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Bridger-Teton National Forest has signed a temporary order closing developed campground and picnic sites on the Forest through May 31, 2020. Many of these sites are inaccessible due to snow and do not normally open until late May.

Campgrounds and picnic sites closed until May 31 within the Jackson and Blackrock Ranger District include the following:

  • Atherton Creek Campground
  • Cache Creek Picnic Site
  • Crystal Creek Campground
  • Curtis Canyon Campground
  • East Table Campground and Overflow
  • Granite Hot Springs
  • Granite Campground
  • Hatchet Campground
  • Hoback Campground
  • Kozy Campground
  • Little Cottonwood Creek
  • Pacific Creek Campground
  • Sheffield Campground
  • Station Creek Campground and Group Site
  • Turpin Meadow Campground
  • Wolf Creek Campground

Additionally, the Forest Service is asking recreationists to refrain from building campfires on the Forest. The temporary closure is necessary to address employee and public health and safety concerns as the Forest works to comply with local and State health orders and Center of Disease Control (CDC) recommendations.

“While we know that going outside provides forest visitors needed space, exercise and mental health, we are taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously,” said Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor. “We are providing some recreation opportunities where we can while keeping employees, the public, and our communities safe from the virus, as well as protecting and keeping communities and resources safe from unwanted human-caused wildfires,” she said.

Developed recreation sites are temporarily closed, but dispersed camping, hiking, river use, and other dispersed activities are allowed in the Forest. Closed developed recreation sites include campgrounds, Granite Hot Springs, picnic areas, and any other constructed facility amenities – such as potable water stations, fire rings/grills, picnic tables, restroom facilities with flush or vaulted toilets, and trashcans and trash collection services. Parking facilities, trails, and trailheads remain open. Dispersed camping includes camping on a national forest where recreation facilities or services are not provided.

“The Forest remains open and Forest visitors can continue dispersed recreation activities while adhering to the following safety and responsibility guidelines,” O’Connor said.

The recommended guidelines for those wanting to get outside include:

  • Stay close to home to keep other communities safe.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • Avoid gathering with others in parking lots, trails, scenic overlooks and other areas.
  • Follow CDC guidelines to prevent illnesses like COVID-19.
  • Prepare for limited or no services, such as restroom facilities and garbage collection.
  • Bears have emerged so remember to store food properly and carry bear spray
  • Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.

“As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our number one priority,” O’Connor said. “We are committed to continuing to support our communities and fulfill our mission as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19,” she said.

Cooperation from all in not building campfires could help minimize the potential for wildfires. This ask acknowledges the emergency response capabilities have already been heavily impacted by COVID-19-related circumstances.

The temporary closure of developed recreation sites and emphasis on not building campfires is based on public health and employee safety.

“Keeping our firefighters, law enforcement, recreation and resource personnel outfitted with personal protective equipment to keep them healthy is our focus,” O’Connor said. “Our resources will be limited this year and we will need to be thoughtful about what we can do to help reduce the need to respond to human-caused fires and reduce the need to expose employees to areas that need frequent cleaning.”

“The Forest will continue to work on obtaining supplies to maintain developed recreation facilities (campgrounds and toilets), so we are prepared for the summer season.”

For more information on closures, please visit the Bridger-Teton National Forest information page.

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