Friday Bad News Shocker: Oconee-Chattahoochee National Forest Closure, Georgia DNR Says Areas They Manage Are Open, Georgia Outdoors News Has List of Trail Closures Including AT

According an announcement that dropped at 10:36 on Nixle, there are closures to the National Forest in Lumpkin, Union, and White.

That is the text of the Forest Service’s press release, dated yesterday.

I’m not sure what this means. I hope means that only the facilities – the latrines – are closed. But it may also mean that they are physically blocking parking lots at trail heads, and other recreation areas. In an extreme case, it may mean they are closing the roads. They definitely are closing many trails, including the Appalachian Trail. See the link at the bottom for a list. What I hope it means is that you can still go there to let off steam in a safe way, if you can find a place where you can park by yourself. I have no idea how they plan to enforce this, as I’ve never seen a Forest Service employee in Georgia anywhere near the big woods. To be fair, that’s not so in Tennessee.

Georgia DNR is so far taking a more sensible attitude, keeping their WMAs and boat launches open. See below, and the link in the previous post.

I thought this had already happened, because there was a scream of pain from Georgia ForestWatch that said in effect that the main trails were crowded and people were crapping everywhere, which only made the virus risk worse in those areas. They urged everyone either to bury it or pack it out. There are some links on their website on exactly how to observe good wilderness etiquette, best practices.

I anticipate a huge scream of pain from the turkey hunters if anything more than latrine closures are involved. So I imagine that Georgia Outdoor News will be all over this story in a day or so. If they are, I’ll pass along.

I have seen nothing yet about the Cherokee, but I’d check if you are going there.

A brief editorial comment. Obviously this is a completely idiotic move, as the national forest is one of the safest places to go to enjoy the outdoors while having the space to get away from people. It doesn’t seem too much to ask that they keep the crappers open.

According to the Georgia Outdoor News article I linked to in my last post, the Georgia DNR is taking a more sensible attitude, and their areas are still open. Their officers are enforcing social distancing at the boat ramps, etc.

If you’re headed out, remember it’s turkey season. If you don’t know how that goes, see my column:

Georgia Outdoor News has a list of closed trails. They include the AT.

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