A sunny day last weekend resulted in a crowd at Lake Como on the Bitterroot National Forest and has caused new restrictions to prevent any spread of COVID-19. Starting Friday, March 27, all Bitterroot National Forest campgrounds, the day use sites at Lake Como, Woods Cabin and the East Fork Guard Station will be temporarily closed until at least April 30. All outhouses and toilets on the forest are also closed, based on CDC guidelines and recommendations for cleaning public facilities. The Lake Como closure includes the beach area, boat launch, picnic area and campgrounds. Campgrounds that have been "gated" during the winter will remain closed, such as Fales Flat and Three Sisters Group Site. However, the Como Lake trailhead and trails around the lake will remain open at this time. The Bass Creek Recreation Area day use and trailheads are open, but the Larry Creek Group site and the toilets at Bass Creek are closed. Please practice the "leave no trace" principles and "pack it in - pack it out."
The closures will not include other forest trails, trailheads, dispersed camping sites or the West Fork river access sites. If you are using those routes, remember to practice social distancing. There's more information at the DiscoverBitterrootNF Facebook page and at the forest website.

Forest Supervisor Matt Anderson said, "With increased pressure on these developed sites and staffing challenges it has become very difficult to manage areas so they're safe for visitors and our employees. It has become clear that the best course of action it to close these sites until it's deemed safe to reopen them. This was a difficult decision that we didn't make lightly and we appreciate people's cooperation. We're in this together." The Forest also announced that public services are being conducted by phone, email, or through web-based transactions. Critical in-person business is being handled by appointment only. Contact your local Ranger District office by phone prior to leaving home.