Hemlock Cliffs temporarily closed due to virus

Herald file photo by Dave Weatherwax

From Local Sources

The Hoosier National Forest has temporarily shut down the Hemlock Cliffs Trail in Crawford County in alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing.

Details and a map of the affected area can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/hoosier/alerts-notices.

In early April, the forest previously closed all developed recreation sites and mandated a group-size limitation of 10 people or less per group across the entire forest.

Other recreation opportunities, such as fishing, dispersed camping, hiking, backpacking and backcountry camping on the Hoosier National Forest remain available to the public. To protect public health and safety, all visitors to the forest are encouraged to:

• Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

• Follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest.

• Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.

• Make arrangements to use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. Unmanaged waste creates a health hazard for forest employees and for other visitors.

• If an area is crowded, search for a less occupied location. Also consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.

• If taking part in dispersed camping, should you choose to have a campfire, exercise absolute caution, keep the fire small, never leave it unattended, and drown the fire when done. Visit https://smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety to learn more about campfire safety.

Visitors cannot camp in the same dispersed or backcountry campsite on the forest for more than 14 days in a 30-day period or more than 30 days total in a year.

Hoosier National Forest employees continue to work during this event, but regular services must be limited, or provided in a different manner, in order to protect the health and safety of forest employees and of the public who makes use of these public lands.

Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to www.coronavirus.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

For up-to-date information on the Hoosier National Forest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/hoosier.

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