BLM Prineville District temporarily closes some recreation facilities and areas
Central Oregon – The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains the number one priority of the Bureau of Land Management. Consistent with the closures already put forward by our partners, as well as with the guidance provided by the CDC and Governor Brown’s Stay at Home Executive Order No. 20-12, the Prineville District is temporarily closing access and use of many of its developed recreation facilities to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
These closures include boating on the Lower Deschutes and John Day Wild and Scenic Rivers. Given the Oregon State Marine Board has put in place temporary boating restrictions and a number of boat ramps are already closed by other agencies, local communities, and partners, the Prineville District is no longer selling new boater permits for the period from March 28th – April 30, 2020. All existing reservations for April 1st- April 30th will been cancelled and refunds will be issued. Boaters currently on the water will be able to complete their trips. Overnight use at all campgrounds along these rivers will be closed beginning 12:01 AM on April 1, 2020. The river closures will also include bathrooms at developed recreation areas as well as boat launches. Access to day-use sites, trails, and all roads remains open.
In addition, outside of the Lower Deschutes and John Day Rivers, restroom facilities at all developed recreation sites will be closed, and all developed campgrounds will be temporarily closed to overnight camping as of 12:01 AM on April 1, 2020. Trash pickup and sanitation services on most of these recreation facilities will also be temporarily suspended. Access to day-use sites including trailheads is still available. Visitors currently in campgrounds will have until 12:01 a.m. April 1, 2020 to leave. Sites remaining open for day-use (hiking, mountain biking, etc.) will be posted with measures for safe recreation.
Despite facility closures, millions of acres of BLM-managed public lands across Oregon remain open to enjoy. We encourage all visitors, particularly those who are elderly, have underlying health conditions, or are otherwise vulnerable, to make smart decisions and follow CDC guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. These measures include:
- Practicing social distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet of space between you and others. This can mean taking separate vehicles to a trailhead, waiting in your car at the trailhead if other users are in the parking lot or at a map or information kiosk,and stepping aside to allow other visitors to pass you safely on a trail. Pick a different spot to recreate if your first choice appears crowded.
- Bringing hand sanitizer or the ability to wash your hands while you’re outdoors and doing so frequently.
- Being prepared for weather conditions, carrying plenty of food and water, and letting someone know where you’re going – avoid putting additional pressure on medical and law enforcement personnel.
- Following Leave No Trace principles including packing out all of your trash and recyclables. Know how to go to the bathroom outside – go at least 200 feet from a trail or water sources, dig a hole about 6 inches deep (and fill it in when you’re done) and pack out your toilet paper.
- Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and most importantly, staying home if you don’t feel well.
If you have questions regarding a specific location in this District, please call (541) 416-6700. Additional information for BLM Oregon-Washington will be posted on https://www.blm.gov/oregon-washington/covid-access-restrictions.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.