(BEDFORD) – In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, the Hoosier National Forest will temporarily shut down the Hemlock Cliffs Trail in Crawford County, Indiana effective April 17, 2020. Details and a map of the affected area can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/hoosier/alerts-notices.
The Forest previously closed all developed recreation sites and mandated a group-size limitation of 10 people or less per group across the entire forest effective April 9, 2020.
Other recreation opportunities, such as fishing, dispersed camping, hiking, backpacking and backcountry camping on the Hoosier National Forest 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.
- If taking part in dispersed camping, should you choose to have a campfire, please exercise absolute caution, keep the fire small, never leave it unattended, and drown the fire when done. Visit https://smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety to learn more about campfire safety.
Visitors cannot camp in the same dispersed or backcountry campsite on the Forest for more than 14 days in a 30-day period or more than 30 days total in a year.
The USDA Forest Service continues to assess and temporarily suspend access to recreation areas that attract large crowds and cannot meet social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are urging all National Forest visitors to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Governor’s “stay at home” executive order. Though enforceable by fine or imprisonment, we are appealing to the better nature of our Forest users to voluntarily comply with these temporary restrictions to assist the nation in containing this virus and limiting its spread. Hoosier National Forest employees continue to work during this event, but regular services must be limited, or provided in a different manner, in order to protect the health and safety of our employees and of the public who makes use of these public lands.
Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: www.coronavirus.gov . Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
For up-to-date information on the Hoosier National Forest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/hoosier.