Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland officials today announced that temporary developed recreation site closures and fire restrictions will remain in place through May 31 to allow employees to prepare facilities, as well as time to ensure the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies are readily available. Trails and general forest areas will remain accessible for public use.

The value of nature to promote mental and physical health comes at a time when access is vital to the American public. We are working diligently to open the trails for full access and ask that visitors be patient during this transition period. Be prepared for other options if your trail is closed, and whenever possible, recreate locally. Local county restrictions may also limit access to National Forest System lands, so check with local jurisdictions for any county road closures.

If you do plan on visiting the national forest, please recreate responsibly by adhering to the following safety and responsibility guidelines:

  • 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.
  • Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.

Fire restrictions are in place through May 31 to enhance public safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and help minimize human-caused wildfires. The following is prohibited:

  1. Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood-burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves.
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.

The following persons are exempt from fire restrictions:

  1. Persons with a Forest Permit, Form FS-7700-48pecifically exempting them from the effect of this Order in the areas listed above.
  2. Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty is exempt from Prohibitions.
  3. Persons using pressurized liquid or gas devices (stoves, grills or lanterns) with shut-off valves in an area at least three feet from any flammable materials are exempt from Prohibition #1.
  4. Residents, owners or lessees within the areas listed above who are using a fire in a permanent dwelling with an effective and properly installed USDA- or SAE- approved spark arrestor, are exempt from Prohibition #1.

The safety of our employees and the public will continue to be our number one priority as we closely monitor the situation and implement changes accordingly.

This time of year, snow always remains at elevations over 9,000 feet and in forested areas along our foothills. This means many roads remain seasonally closed. Make sure to check the latest road information. Lower elevation hiking trails above 8,000 feet often still have mud and snow patches and most higher-elevation trails above 10,000 feet will remain snow-packed until later in June or early July.

We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our national forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.

Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available on our websiteFacebook and Twitter. Your local ranger district office can provide site-specific information. Our offices are closed, but you can get help virtually through email or phone. Contact information is available on our offices.