NewsCovering Kern County


BLM and Sequoia National Forest expanding access to lands for Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 20:22:34-04

PORTERVILLE, Calif. — After weeks of closed campsites and parks, Sequoia National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management announced they are both working on expanding access just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

The Sequoia National Forest said it is increasing access to the public by providing additional developed recreation opportunities. Visitors are encouraged to visit their website and social media pages for the most up-to-date information on what is open before planning a visit.

"We are working with our concessionaire, California Land Management, along with state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely open closed sites," Forrest officials said. "Protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority."

Meantime, with Memorial Day weekend approaching the Bureau of Land Management said it is working with local, state, and federal partners and will use a phased approach to expand access to closed areas in California on a case-by-case basis.

In California, the Bureau of Land Management oversees 15 million acres of public lands that support the agency’s multiple-use mission, which includes 1,735 miles of nationally designated trails and 356 miles of rivers.

Those who travel near rivers and lakes across the Forest are advised to use extreme caution, especially anyone with young children. Fed by snow melt, water temperature is very cold, flowing swiftly and unpredictable according to officials.

Forest officials have extended temporary closures of various developed recreation sites. Forest Orders are available here and remain in effect until expired or rescinded. You can also check what BLM areas are open at their website..

The orders do not close trails, trailheads, and general forest areas; these areas remain accessible for public use, Sequoia National Forest officials said.

"Whenever possible, please recreate locally," Forrest officials said. "Visitors should practice self-sufficiency when visiting national forests and come prepared with all the essentials needed for your trip, including food, emergency supplies, and the ability to pack-out trash."

Visitors should follow state and local public health guidance, come prepared, be flexible, and respect other users as well as natural and cultural resources on public lands.

"If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location," Forrest officials said. "Closing any site for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority."