Black Hills National Forest closes recreation sites
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Black Hills National Forest closes recreation sites

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Black Hills National Forest File Art

The Black Hills National Forest near Custer.

CUSTER | The Black Hills National Forest is closing campgrounds, rental cabins, picnic areas, fire lookouts, observation points and other developed areas.

According to a news release, these measures are being put in place to protect public health and safety and help contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

This closure will be in effect until at least April 30. The closure includes all concessionaire-operated campgrounds and all day-use areas associated with those campgrounds.

"The Black Hills National Forest continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and evaluate potential impacts and adjustments to reservations and reservation policies through Recreation.gov. Reservation holders will be notified via email and/or cell phone text messages of any changes affecting their reservation," the news release said.

Given the demonstrated risk of exposure to coronavirus from large, concentrated gatherings of people, forest officials are temporarily discouraging continued recreational use on the national forests and grasslands.

"Safe and responsible use of national forests and grasslands will reduce impacts to local communities who may be at risk from the virus," the news release said. "By closing campsites and group recreation sites, the USDA Forest Service is taking necessary measures to safeguard the health of employees and the public."

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