Washington Public Lands Are Still Closed. So Please Stop Going Around Closure Signs, Officials Ask
Some rules aren’t meant to be broken. Rules like Washington’s public lands closures. Enforcement officers are seeing people hike in closed areas, which could eventually land you a citation.
After public lands closed last week, some people are still heading onto Department of Natural Resource lands throughout Washington. Enforcement officers have still noted crowded parking lots places such as at the Ahtanam State Forest in Yakima County, said DNR spokesperson Ryan Rodruck.
“Our closure there is very clearly indicated. We had custom signs made up. There’s a barricade on the North Fork road. It was abundantly clear that the area was closed to recreation,” Rodruck said.
Among other areas, Rodruck said cars also packed the lot at the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area east of Seattle near North Bend.
Right now, enforcement officers are still educating people about the closures – which are meant to protect people from hiking shoulder-to-shoulder on packed trails. The department (along with Fish and Wildlife and State Parks) closed public areas when people showed up in record numbers, hoping to break free from their homes for a few hours.
Rodruck said enforcement officers haven’t issued any tickets yet. Those would happen if people refused to leave.
Citations would be $99 for failure to obey posted regulations. He said DNR enforcement officers don’t want to issue tickets – they’re mostly talking with people found in closed areas.
“I understand how frustrating it is to not have access at this point, but it has been done out of an abundance of caution for public safety to prevent the spread of this virus, and an abundance of safety for DNR employees as well, Rodruck said. “We just want people to be safe.”
The closure, which includes trailheads, roads and campgrounds, will last until May 5, following the recent extension of Gov. Inslee’s “stay home, stay healthly order. DNR-managed lands are still open for timber harvests and agricultural uses. Workers have been directed to comply with social distancing guidelines.
On those trails, state officials are asking that you take precautions: stay six feet away from people, wear masks if you can’t meet that guideline, bring hand sanitizer, water and soap. You should also pack out what you pack in. Continue Reading Public Lands Managers Ask: Have Plan A, B Or C Ready To ‘Recreate Responsibly’ This Weekend
There is growing economic pressure to reopen national parks and ease travel restrictions even as many states are still seeing a rise in coronavirus cases. Continue Reading Yellowstone National Park Set To Reopen — With Caveats
Northwest state officials are struggling to contain crowds in parks in the time of coronavirus. Washington opened most parks on May 5, Oregon on May 6. Now, the states are trying to fine tune their response for future sunny-day crowds. Continue Reading Like A Scene Out of ‘Mad Max’: Washington And Oregon State Parks Struggle To Address Crowds