Mt. Hood National Forest temporarily shutters recreation sites
To promote safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, all recreation sites on the Mt. Hood National Forest will temporarily close starting today, March 26.
"These closures have been deemed necessary to address social distancing guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control, align with Oregon State Governor Kate Brown's Executive Order to avoid unnecessary travel, and reduce pressure on emergency services in local communities," Mt. Hood National Forest leaders wrote in a statement.
The closure, which will extend through at least May 8, applies to campgrounds, day-use sites, trailheads, Sno-Parks, fire lookouts, off-highway vehicle (OHV) areas and all other developed recreation sites on the forest.
Benjamin Watts, a recreation specialist for the forest, noted that the popularity of many locations make it difficult to safely recreate on the Mt. Hood National Forest during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There are a lot of high-use spots that make social distancing nearly impossible," he said.
During this time, reservations will also be unavailable through Recreation.gov. Those who already have reservations will have the option for a refund.
"As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety (are) our number one priority. We are committed to continuing to support our communities, local emergency services, and fulfill our mission as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19," forest leaders wrote.
Around the region, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are also closed. Additionally, Oregon State Parks are temporarily shuttered.
For more information, visit fs.usda.gov/mthood..
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.