In order to meet the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and State of Oregon, effective today through April 14, 2020, operations at six concentrated-use campgrounds will be suspended.
After careful consideration, forest officials have determined these six campgrounds, identified below, regularly exceed the threshold of gathering size, particularly as visitation increases with the changing season.
There are four affected campgrounds at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Horsfall, Horsfall Beach, Spinreel, and Driftwood II) and two at Sand Lake Recreation Area (East Dunes, West Winds).
These campgrounds are unique in their design; rather than a typical family campground with individual sites separated by vegetation, these OHV campgrounds look more like parking lots where larger groups form tight circles of trailers and campers. During busy times, such as spring break weeks, these campgrounds often have a crowded, festival-like atmosphere. Existing reservations through April 14 have been canceled and fully refunded and new reservations before April 14 will not be accepted.
“We know how important outdoor recreation is to so many people,” said Donna Mickley, acting Forest Supervisor, “and so this is not a decision we made lightly. We’re committed to continuing to provide services for visitors in this challenging time while also making sure we’re keeping employees, volunteers, and the public safe.”
In addition to these temporary campground closures, the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center suspended operations on March 14 due to staffing challenges and the need to address social distancing guidelines. Offices are also open, yet the majority of public business is being conducted by phone, email, or through web-based transactions; critical in-person business is being handled by appointment only to minimize person-to-person contact.
Day use areas, trails, and other campgrounds across the Siuslaw National Forest remain open at this time. Prior to leaving home, visitors are encouraged to check online for the latest updates and information.