Coronavirus concerns prompting Bitterroot National Forest changes

Posted at 10:05 AM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 16:14:08-04

HAMILTON — The Bitterroot National Forecast has announced some changes in due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

Beginning on Friday, March 27 all Bitterroot National Forest campgrounds, day use sites at Lake Como, Woods Cabin, and the East Fork Guard Station will be temporarily closed through April 30.

Notification to cabin renters will be made as soon as possible and refunds will be processed, according to a news release.

The Lake Como Recreation Area closures include the beach area, boat launch, picnic area, and campgrounds. The Como Trailhead and trails around the lake will remain open at this time.

“Last weekend was very busy at Lake Como, especially on the beach,” said Matt Anderson, Bitterroot Forest Supervisor. “With increased pressure on these developed sites and staffing challenges it has become very difficult to manage areas so they’re safe for visitors and our employees. “It has become clear that the best course of action is to close these sites until it’s deemed safe to reopen them. TThis was a difficult decision that we didn’t make lightly and we appreciate people’s cooperation. We’re in this together.”

The closures will not impact other Bitterroot National Forest trails, trailheads, dispersed camping sites, or West Fork river access sites which remain open at this time. Additionally, the Bass Creek Recreation Area day use and trailheads still remain open however, toilets located at these areas will be closed, based on CDC guidelines and recommendations for cleaning public facilities.

“We want the public to know that the forest is still open,” said Anderson. “We want people to get outside, stretch their legs, and stay active during these stressful times. Please make sure that you’re recreating responsibly which includes social distancing measures.”

Forest officials add that because of COVID-19 issues, law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited at this time.

Click here to view a complete list of campgrounds and site closures.