UPDATE (June 3, 2020 8:16 p.m.):
ELKINS, W.Va. – The Monongahela National Forest officials announced that more areas will be opening up this Thursday.
On June 4, the sites listed below will open:
- Island Campground
- Laurel Fork Campground
- Middle Mountain Cabins
- Old House Run Picnic area and shelter
- Bear Heaven Campground
- Petersburg Area
- Red Creek Campground
- Cranberry River Developed Campsites along Forest Road 76
- Third Bridge Dispersed Managed Non-Fee Campsites along State Route 55
- Williams River Developed Campsites along Forest Road 86 (Williams River Road remains closed to motor vehicle use between Tea Creek Campground and Three Forks Bridge due to road construction.)
White Sulphur Springs Area:
- Dispersed Managed Non-Fee Campsites along Anthony Creek on State Route 21/2
- Dispersed Managed Non-Fee Campsites along the Lake Sherwood Entrance Road, State Route 14
According to the announcement, the Monongahela National Forest is taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously and will continue to monitor the local situation and Forest operations to meet changing information, safety protocols, and recommendations from federal, state and local officials.
For more information about COVID-19 protocols, head over to the forest’s website.
UPDATE (5/28/20 5:58 p.m.):
Monongahela National Forest officials announced that more developed recreation sites in the forest have reopened.
“Most of Monongahela National Forest is open for public use. Some recreation facilities and campgrounds are closed as we continue to balance our work in ways that allow us to adhere to our core value of safety while also following public health recommendations on social distancing,” said Shawn Cochran, Forest Supervisor. “We are working on this, and plan to open more recreation sites gradually over the next few weeks as we acquire additional safety equipment and cleaning supplies. Please continue to check our website for the latest information.”
Please remember to avoid congregating at trailheads and/or parking areas and refrain from gathering in groups of more than 10 people, officials urged.
As of May 28, the following areas are open:
- Gaudineer Knob Picnic Area
- Lake Buffalo
- Stuart Recreation Area group campsite and picnic shelters
- Horseshoe Recreation Area picnic shelters
- Dolly Sods Picnic Area
- Forest Roads 19 and 75 in the Dolly Sods area
Seneca Rocks Area:
- Seneca Rocks Picnic Area picnic shelter
- Seneca Shadows Campground group campsites
- Spruce Knob/Huckleberry Trailhead parking lots and Spruce Knob Observation Tower
- Spruce Knob Lake parking lots
Other sites in the forest opened earlier in May. A list is available below, in the original story.
ORIGINAL STORY(5/20/20 4:10 p.m.)
ELKINS, W.Va. (WOWK) – Monongahela National Forest will open some developed recreation sites on May 21.
The forest officials are asking visitors to avoid congregating at trailheads and parking areas and to refrain from gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
“While we understand there may be some excitement to return to these recreation areas, there may be limited services or spaces available,” says Forest Supervisor Shawn Cochran “We ask that visitors please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe and practice good hygiene and social distancing wherever they choose to visit.”
For a full list of open areas and up-to-date information on re-openings, visit the Forest’s website.
Developed recreation sites to open May 21 include:
- Bartow Area
- Camp Allegheny Day Use Area
- Cheat Summit Fort Day Use Area
- Elkins Area
- Bickle Knob Observation Tower
- Stuart Recreation Area (both the campground and picnic area, but not the group campsite)
- Marlinton Area
- Highland Scenic Highway Overlooks
- Williams River Fishing Pier (on Forest Road 86, just east of the Highland Scenic Highway)
- Parsons Area
- Horseshoe Recreation Area (both the campground and the picnic area will open May 22)
- Olson Observation Tower
- Petersburg Area
- Big Bend Campground
- Richwood Area
- Cranberry Glades Boardwalk
- Falls of Hills Creek Trail
- Summit Lake Day Use Area (not the campground)
- Seneca Rocks Area
- Seneca Rocks Picnic Area and trailhead (but not the picnic shelter)
- Seneca Shadows Campground
- Spruce Knob Lake Campground
Certain services may still be unavailable, so forest officials are asking visitors are asked to plan accordingly and to remain flexible.
Monongahela National Forest officials say they are taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously and will continue to monitor the local situation and forest operations to meet changing information, safety protocols, and recommendations from federal, state and local officials.
Visitors are asked to stay as local as possible when choosing a site to visit and to pack out everything they bring, especially trash. The forest service also urges visitors to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with local health and safety guidance.