The US Forest Service has published guidance for use of forest service land and recreation operations during COVID-19 times. The guidance suggests permit holders take into account the varying degrees of stay-at-home orders depending on which state you operate in, and local public health guidelines. It is best practice to check in with your local public land management agency when working on procedures for reopening. As the stages of reopening unfold, the forest service has put a framework in place for local agencies to follow:
- Mitigation and Monitoring of Current Conditions
- Preparation and Planning for Reopening
- Implementing Decisions for Reopening
- Monitor and Adapt to Whatever Comes Next
When creating your reopening plans for guiding on Forest Service lands, it would be beneficial to use this framework. It is the agencies intention to support permit holders as best as possible to resume operations, in order to do this collaboration is essential. Working with your local office will be crucial to ensure your permit is still active; you are able to follow local and State laws while providing services and consistent messaging is utilized when talking about what is open. One final note from this guidance suggests local offices, when possible, consider offering extended operating seasons and amending operating plans at the request of the permittee.