CASA GRANDE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – The Tonto National Forest is closing several recreational sites amid the Coronavirus pandemic in an effort to follow CDC guidelines.
“By closing these recreation sites, the USDA Forest Service is taking the measures that are necessary to safeguard both our public and our employees,” said Anne Thomas, the acting public information officer for the Tonto National Forest.
Recreation sites, including campgrounds, shorelines, and some trailheads, are now closed. For a full list of locations, you can click here.
“These are sites where there are large gatherings, they are sites that are visited by our public on a regular basis and we’re trying to work within the CDC and state health guidelines for large group gatherings and social distancing,” said Thomas. “We’re working to put up barricades or physical barriers to these sites and we ask that our visitors do not violate or cross into any of these gates. The biggest message is to help us stay within those guidelines.”
Some people who are traveling in RVs are having a hard time finding open campgrounds.
The U.S. Forest Service said starting on Monday, developed recreation sites, such as campgrounds and restrooms, are now closed.
“More and more parks being closed and more people are being asked to leave, there’s not really a place for them to go,” said Richard Aubert, who is traveling in an RV with his wife.
Aubert is originally from Illinois but is staying at a campground in Casa Grande that is still open.
The gorgeous weather in the Phoenix area and the rest of Arizona is just too good to pass up for many people.
“There’s no facilities, there’s no hot tub, no pool, the clubhouse is closed,” Aubert explained. “It’s a great place to live, everybody waves at everybody, everyone says hello, there’s coffee in the morning and gatherings but at this point all that is gone.”
Aubert is hoping at least some of the campgrounds remain open so RVers like him have a place to go if they are traveling.