With hospitals and emergency responders running out of masks and other PPE in California and elsewhere, it should come as no surprise that local, state, and federal land managers are expanding the scope of their COVID-19 temporary access restrictions to popular destination recreation sites that – are or have the potential to -attract large crowds of visitors.
For example, California State Parks issued a news release late last night that stated, it is taking additional safety measures to reduce crowds and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Many state parks and beaches received record visitation over the weekend which made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social distancing practices.
LINK TO STATE PARKS ANNOUNCEMENT
The Nevada BLM issued a temporary closure order for the Sand Mountain Recreation Area near Fallon, Nevada. As many of you know, the Sand Mountain OHV Area is a popular destination site for families and clubs that enjoy riding dirt-bikes, ATVs, SxSs, and 4WD vehicles.
LINK TO NV BLM CLOSURE OF SAND MOUNTAIN
Based on photos and stories posted on social media, it appears that many motorized and non-motorized recreationists have misinterpreted various “shelter-at-home” orders from state or county government as authorization for them to take a short or long-term vacation – often with large groups – on public lands.
Until we collectively “Flatten the Curve,” recreationists should honor the stay at home directives and if they do go out for trail activities it should be close to home and/or in dispersed areas sans large crowds where social distancing is practiced. Respecting the seriousness of this issue will hasten its resolution and help expedite the withdrawal of closure orders and the reopening of public lands for both casual use and permitted events.
The professional healthcare workers, law enforcement officials, and park maintenance staff that I know, will be greatly appreciative of us doing our part to address the coronavirus.
Amador has 30 years in the recreation management and advocacy profession. Don is president of Quiet Warrior Racing, a recreation consulting company located in Oakley, CA. Don is also CEO of the Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance, a non-profit group that works with volunteers and land agencies to recover, restore, and reopen recreation facilities damaged by wildfires. Don may be reached via email at: email@example.com