HOT SPRINGS Ark. — To protect public health and safety and align with federal, state and local guidance, Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests officials are announcing the temporary shutdown of recreational areas and campgrounds for the safety of visitors and staff.
Effective immediately, some recreation areas and campgrounds are temporarily shut down. Some campgrounds and cabins have not yet open for season, and will remain shut down. Dispersed camping is still available on both forests. On the Ouachita National Forest, all restrooms are shut down.
For a list of closures, more information and updates, visit the websites of the Ouachita National Forest at www.fs.usda.gov/ouachita or the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests at www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf/. Updates can also be found at the Ouachita National Forest Facebook site at www.facebook.com/ouachitanf and Ozark-St. Francis National Forest at www.facebook.com/ozarkstfrancis/.
The Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and evaluate potential impacts and adjustments to reservations and our reservation policies through Recreation.gov. Reservation holders will be notified via email and/or cell phone text messages of any changes affecting their reservation. Visitors will receive a full refund for their reservation.
By closing campsites and group recreation sites, the USDA Forest Service is taking necessary measures to safeguard the health of employees and the public. The health and safety of employees and the nearby communities is always our top priority at the USDA Forest Service.
Visitors are primarily responsible for their own safety. Keep in mind, trails and roads may be open for use, but please recreate responsibly and follow public health guidelines regarding social distancing while you recreate in National Forests. Law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High risk activities such as rock climbing or motorized activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided. For the most current and accurate information about COVID-19, contact your local health officials or visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
3-26-20 1:50 p.m. KAWX.ORG