Week #4: OHV Coronavirus update

I hope everyone is staying sane during this shelter in place order. I know its hard for me to just stay home, but I’m trying to do my part and do what ever it takes to get back to a place when business can start to open back up and when we can return to recreating on our favorite trails.

The temporary closures just keep coming, new ones every day. Here are the most recent updates on popular recreation areas in and around California.

Jawbone Canyon, Onyx Ranch and Dove Springs OHV area closures

In accordance with Governor Newsom's Stay-at-Home order, the following closures around the Eastern Kern County OHV areas have been implemented.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) following guidance from the CDC and State and local health officials has decided to temporarily close the Jawbone Canyon and Dove Springs Off Highway Recreation areas to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Onyx Ranch SVRA was closed to vehicle access when California State Parks closed all 280 state parks in late March.

Map showing COVID-19 closure areas in Eastern Kern County OHV Recreation sites
(The map was produced by Mojave Gold for Friends of Jawbone)

Death Valley National Park

Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health in consultation with National Park Service (NPS) Public Health Service officers, Death Valley National Park is temporarily closed.

The National Park Service (NPS) is working with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic.

All areas of the park are closed, including trails, roads, viewpoints, visitor centers, restrooms, and campgrounds until further notice.

Oregon Dunes

Meanwhile farther north at the Oregon Dunes, all campgrounds at state parks and forests have been closed to halt spread of coronavirus. State agencies that offer camping will gradually shut down all campgrounds while allowing a grace period for people currently camping. After April 2, all state campgrounds will be completely closed and that decision will remain in place until May 8.  Most private campgrounds are not affected so far.

North Cow Mountain Recreation Area

The BLM has temporarily closed the North Cow Mountain Recreation Area site until further notice to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

The North Cow Mountain Recreation Area is located east of the city of Ukiah and west of the city of Lakeport in Northwestern California. The recreation management area consists of approximately 26,000 acres of public land that is managed for non-motorized use. The recreation area boosts a gun range and almost 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.

BLM Desert District

As of now, Superstition OHV, parts of the Imperial Sand Dunes and areas around Plaster City are open to dispersed camping and recreation. However, that could change at any time, so you should call the local field office before heading out.

Here is a list of the areas being temporarily closed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

  • El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area
  • Lark Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle Day Use Area 
  • Lark Canyon Upper and Lower Campgrounds
  • Dove Springs OHV Area
  • Jawbone Canyon OHV Area
  • Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area – the following sites within the recreation area are closed:
    • All campgrounds and areas adjacent to Gecko Road (including Cement Flats, all camping pads, Gecko Campground, Keyhole Campground, and Roadrunner Campground) 
    • Osborne Overlook Day Use and Camping Area 

The Friends of El Mirage

The 23rd Annual El Mirage Clean Up Day scheduled for May 2nd has been postponed to date to be determined later.

Moose Anderson Days

Scheduled for April 25th has also been postponed to a later date.

California City

The City of California City has closed all OHV riding areas and campgrounds until further notice. The closure will minimize the spread of the virus and the impact on our city’s first responders.

BLM North

The BLM has temporarily closed all the developed campgrounds and developed recreation sites in the Northern California District. This includes the popular Samoa Dunes Recreation Area located near Eureka.

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)

PG&E will close all its 38 camping and day use recreational facilities until the end of May, at which time they will reassess the closure plan.

Tahoe National Forest

The Forest has issued a System Road Closure Order postponing the opening of all Off-Highway Vehicle routes until April 30, 2020. This Forest System Road Closure applies to all trails, roads and routes specified in the Tahoe National Forest’s Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM). This Forest System Road Closure Order is effective through April 30, 2020, or until rescinded.

Stanislaus National Forest

In alignment with current federal, state, and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health safety of its visitors, employees and local communities, the Stanislaus National Forest has extended the seasonal road closure, and closed seven additional roads along with some high-use areas effective through April 30, 2020. This closure is in addition to developed recreation sites that were closed on March 26.

In addition to these seasonal roads, Stanislaus NF announced the following roads will be closed through April 30:

  • 01N01 Buchanan Mine
  • 01N04 Cottonwood Road
  • 01N07 Cherry Lake Road
  • 01N10 Lumsden Road
  • 04N80Y Candy Rock Road
  • 05N02 Beardsley Road
  • 05N13X Highway 108 Snow Park

Eldorado National Forest

The Forest has issued a seasonal road & motorized trail closure to be extended thru April 30, 2020. All recreation facilities have been closed, this includes all developed campgrounds, cabin rentals, picnic areas, public restrooms, boat ramps, and other recreation facilities on the Eldorado NF are closed through April 30, 2020.

Plumas National Forest

Many campgrounds, picnic areas, bathrooms, and boat launch facilities on the Plumas National Forest have been closed indefinitely for the health and safety of visitors and staff.

These actions have been taken based on the best available medical advice for cleaning per the CDC guidelines and to promote social distancing. Recreation visitors are encouraged to contact their ranger district office with additional questions.

Alpine County

The County has decided to close Blue Lakes Road and the Blue Lakes Snow until further notice to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Please stay safe and if should you decide to go out and hit the trails please carefully consider the potential implications to you, your family, your friends or even first responders when venturing outdoors.

Please follow these guidelines if you choose to recreate outdoors:

  • maintain a safe distance between yourself and other groups
  • limit your group to 10 people or less
  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; or use hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • stay home if you feel sick

About the Author

Jeff Blewett

Jeff Blewett

Natural Resources Consultant - North
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