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National Forest Campgrounds, Picnic Areas Close Across Arizona

The National Forest Service wants visitors to maintain social distancing, even out in the wilderness. Dozens of campgrounds, picnic areas and trailheads throughout the Southwest are temporarily closing, starting this week.

TontoCoconino and  Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are among those closing all developed recreation sites to protect visitors and employees from the spread of COVID-19.

Shayne Martin with the Forest Service said much of the dispersed land throughout the forests remains open to the public, but gathering places like picnic areas are closing.

“People enjoy using the forests and we don’t want to discourage that," Martin said. "But we are encouraging that anyone using National Forests continue to follow CDC guidelines, their state public health guidelines, and maintain that social distancing that’s so critically important at this time.”

Martin said the agency also has limited resources to respond to visitors for the time being, so those who do use Forest Service land should be extra cautious to avoid injury.

Martin recommends checking the National Forest  website for updated closures before heading out.

→  Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease 

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.