In continuing the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Red Rock Ranger District of Coconino National Forest is in the process of closing its highest-use destinations and day-use sites in the Sedona area in response to large numbers of people hiking, congregating, and not practicing social distancing.
In coordination with Verde Valley and Sedona civic leaders, the following trails and day-use sites will be closed this weekend, until further notice:
Beaver Creek Day-Use Site
Bell Rock Trailhead
Cathedral Rock Trailhead and Trail
Courthouse Vista Trailhead
Crescent Moon Day-Use Site
Devil’s Bridge Trail, including OHV access and surrounding associated trails:
Dry Creek Trailhead
Long Canyon Trailhead
West Fork Trailhead and Trail
“We realize these popular destinations in Sedona are places people rejuvenate by getting outside and experiencing the beauty this area has to offer,” said Red Rock District Ranger Amy Tinderholt. “However, the unfortunate reality at these locations during this pandemic has been continued high use, causing crowds to form and people lining up just to hike or get to the end of the trail. We will not keep trails and areas open that create environments for COVID-19 to spread easily, which negates the important practice of social distancing.”
Forest Service employees and law enforcement officers will patrol the areas closed, and citations will be given to those who ignore the closures.
Coconino NF continually evaluates popular areas across each district to determine if additional closures are necessary to help aid in following federal, state, and local health guidelines.
“We are doing our best to balance the opportunities available for the public to recreate on the Forest, while helping lower the COVID-19 curve,” said Tinderholt. “The crowds that we saw last weekend, and conversation with local leaders about the concern that continued influx of tourism has on their local heath and emergency services, solidified our decision to move forward. We will keep evaluating areas and may have additional closures in the future, but that will largely depend upon the public doing their part to avoid crowds and flatten the curve.”
Even though these popular destinations are closing, Coconino National Forest includes nearly 2 million acres of dispersed recreational opportunities across three districts.
For more information regarding Coconino National Forest and its recreational opportunities, please visit www.coconinonationalforest.us. The public can also get a quick glance of the status of popular recreation sites online by visiting the Recreation Sites Status Quick Look web page.