The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, which covers more than 1.5 million acres in northern Wisconsin, announced Thursday it was delaying the opening of all recreation sites and campgrounds until further notice.
The move came after Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers directed the Department of Natural Resources to close 40 state parks and recreation sites, mostly in southern Wisconsin. All state park campgrounds had been closed in March. The state is under a safer-at-home order, which allows for only essential travel.
The CNNF and forest roads remain open for hiking, biking and scenic drives — for people who live in the area — but the following areas are closed until further notice:
- Developed campgrounds (any existing reservations for May will be cancelled and will receive refunds)
- Dispersed or backcountry camping
- Trails (motorized and non-motorized designated trails)
- Day use areas, including trailheads, picnic areas, boat landings, beaches and the Mountain Fire Lookout Tower
- Lost Lake Cabins, Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center and Forest Lodge
- All restroom facilities
Forest service staff had already closed bathroom facilities and removed trash receptacles at recreation sites last week.
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The forest service said they will continue to monitor the situation and will reopen sites on a case-by-case basis.
“Personal responsibility is now more important than ever. Let’s all do our part to ensure we are keeping ourselves, our families and our communities safe by being prepared and recreating responsibly,” Paul Strong, forest supervisor on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, said in a release.
The forest service reminded people to follow social distance and personal hygiene guidelines if they visit the forest, as well as leave-no-trace principles which include carrying out all trash and planning to use the restroom before or after visiting.
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