ELKINS, WV, (WOWK) – The Monongahela National Forest says in alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, it has temporarily shut down all developed recreation sites and mandated a group-size limitation of 10 people or less per group across the entire Forest.
Monongahela sites impacted by this announcement include:
- All Developed Campgrounds
- All Developed Day Use Areas (including visitor centers, picnic areas, observation towers, Highland Scenic Highway overlooks, and historic sites)
- Middle Mountain Cabins
- Dispersed (roadside) camping along the Cranberry and Williams rivers
- All toilet facilities
Forest officials say other recreation opportunities on Monongahela National Forest, such as fishing, dispersed roadside camping in areas other than the Williams and Cranberry rivers, hiking, backpacking and backcountry camping remain available to the public. 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 CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the Forest.
- Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.
- Please make arrangements to use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. Unmanaged waste creates a health hazard for our employees and for other visitors.
- If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Also consider avoiding the Forest during high-use periods.
The Forest says people cannot camp in the same dispersed or backcountry campsite on the Forest for more than 14 consecutive days. After 14 days, campers must move their camp more than five road-miles away from the site they just occupied and may return to the original site after 21 days.
The USDA Forest Service says it continues to assess and temporarily suspend access to recreation areas that attract large crowds and cannot meet social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC. Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
For up-to-date information on the Monongahela National Forest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/mnf.