The largest national forest in West Virginia announced Wednesday it is shutting down its campgrounds in an attempt to encourage people to social distance.
The Monongahela National Forest has closed all of its 24 developed campgrounds and campsites effective immediately.
Developed campgrounds include areas with services such as bathrooms, water and electricity. The shutdown does not include dispersed sites that have no services, however, Kelly Bridges, Monongahela National Forest public affairs officer, said they are not encouraging people to camp there either.
She said the risk of congregating and being closer than the Center for Disease Control’s recommended six feet is too great.
“[We are] trying to keep people safe and keep people out of bathrooms that may or may not be able to get cleaned regularly,” Bridges said.
This comes after West Virginia’s state parks limited camping to RV’s and restricted use of public facilities. Although in a press conference Friday, Gov. Jim Justice encouraged people to still recreate, including camping.
Daytime recreation within the Monongahela National Forest remains open.
The forest covers almost six percent of land within West Virginia, and stretches from Preston to Greenbrier Counties.