OGDEN, Utah (KIFI/KIDK)-In an effort to ease the closures of National Forest recreation sites in Idaho, the US Forest Service Intermountain Region has issued an order limited the size of groups using outdoor recreation to 10 persons.
The office said the order was in alignment with current federal, state, and local guidance for social distancing and would help ensure the safety and health of employees, visitors, and volunteers.
"We greatly value the opportunity for people to use their public lands, and we fully recognize the connection people have with National Forests," said Dave Rosenkrance, Deputy Regional Forester. "Our intent in issuing this group size order is not to reduce recreation opportunities, but in fact, this may allow us to open some sites that had been closed due to COVID-19, while ensuring the safety of our employees and the public."
The Forest Service said the order might allow for National Forests to open some previously closed sites and provide alternatives to closing sites where social distancing can't be ensured.
Many recreation opportunities remain available to the public.
To protect public health and safety, all visitors are encouraged to:
• Be fully self-contained. Take everything you may need with you in order to avoid unnecessary stops at stores and gas stations.
• If an area is crowded, search for a less occupied location. Consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.
• Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
You can read the full order here:
Notably, violation of the order carries a steep fine. As a Class B misdemeanor the fine is $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and up to six months in jail.