Due to the continuing pandemic, we’ve decided to suspend sales from the Backcountry Store. With all the shutdown orders it’s extremely difficult for our volunteers to get to the products, pack and ship them. We hope to be back in a few months! And we’d like to mention yet again that if you shop online, please shop through Amazon Smile and choose San Gorgonio Wilderness Association as your charity of choice. It costs you nothing – you can’t make giving easier than that!
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Per Regional Order 20-06, all developed campgrounds are closed in the Pacific Southwest Region. Most campgrounds in San Bernardino National Forest were already closed anyway. From the Forest Service announcement:
Why are these campgrounds closing?
These closures are to align with the Governor’s Regional Stay Home Order, which went into effect in Southern California yesterday after ICU capacity dropped below 15%. The order says campgrounds are to close.
Are day use activities allowed?
Yes! In fact, the Regional Stay Home Order specifically cites outdoor recreation as important to Californian’s physical health and wellbeing.
When will these campgrounds reopen?
All Regional Stay Home Orders are to be in effect for at least three weeks, meaning this regional order would be lifted on January 7. This, however, could be extended if ICU capacity remains below the 15% threshold.
If the Regional Stay Home Order is about campgrounds, when will dispersed camping be allowed?
Dispersed camping and yellow post site camping are currently prohibited due to fire danger. We’ve had a record-breaking summer of visitor numbers taking part in these activities in the backcountry. Should a Santa Ana wind-driven fire start in one of these areas, a significant number of visitors could become entrapped, hurt or worse, especially if a fire starts in the middle of the night. Imagine trying to evacuate far-off places like Holcomb Valley or Thomas Mountain with the crowds we’ve been receiving this year. Until we receive significant precipitation to take us out of peak fire season, this prohibition will remain in effect. If precipitation occurs before this regional order expires, we will consult with the region on reopening these activities or not due to COVID.
For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, U.S. fifth graders can bring their families to national parks, wildlife refuges and other Department of the Interior managed public lands and waters for free! Learn more about the program at the link below.
As of October 11, 2020, the Forest Service has exempted the Aspen Grove trail from the closure order. Therefore we will be issuing permits for Aspen Grove. From the Facebook page:
“A new forest closure has gone into effect for the areas within and surrounding the #ElDoradoFire. This was enacted for both visitor and firefighter safety. This includes the entire San Gorgonio Wilderness, and trails that lead into it, including Vivian Creek, Momyer, San Bernardino Peak, Forsee, South Fork, and Fish Creek trails (exemption: Aspen Grove Trail to the Aspen Grove, about a quarter mile in. The trail is closed to the south of the grove. Permit required).”
The Forest Service has re-opened the San Bernardino National Forest, with some restrictions. The San Gorgonio Wilderness is still closed. As of October 10, 2020, there are still areas burning inside the wilderness and this is expected to continue until the first significant rain or snowfall.
The Forest Service has issued a revised forest closure order for California National Forests. Seven National Forests (NF) in California remain closed: Angeles NF, Cleveland NF, Los Padres NF, Inyo NF, San Bernardino NF, Sequoia NF, and Sierra NF. This decision will continue to be reviewed daily, taking fire and weather conditions into account.
This includes the San Gorgonio Wilderness. No permits will be issued for any future dates until the closure is lifted.
“We understand how important access to national forests is to our visitors,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. “As we evaluate fire and weather conditions on a daily basis, we will continue to make adjustments to ensure safe visitation. Our aim continues to prevent any new fires on the landscape.”
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The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announces that current closure orders and fire prohibitions in California have been extended. This decision will be evaluated daily, taking fire and weather conditions into account.
There is no set date for re-opening in the press release. As the closure includes the San Gorgonio Wilderness, SGWA will not accept requests or issue any permits for Wilderness access until a solid re-opening date has been announced.
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The Forest Service has announced they will increase access to some National Forests in CA – but not San Bernardino or Angeles NF – starting Saturday Sept 19. For more information and the detailed list, please see the press release link below.