The U.S. Forest Service will close recreation sites at the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and the Thunder Basin Grasssland to protect its employees, visitors and nearby communities due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.

"This management action intends to protect public health and safety and align with state and local measures already in place to contain the COVID-19 outbreak," the Forest Service said.

Forest and grassland visitors will find limited access for roads, trails, and recreation sites, which is typical for this time of year. Likewise campgrounds, visitor centers, and many trailheads and picnic areas are seasonally closed.

The announcement of the new closures remain in effect until April 30 when they will be re-evaluated.

The temporary closures will discourage recreation use by reducing crowds at trailheads, facilities and parking lots.

The Medicine Bow Routt National Forest in south-central Wyoming and the Thunder Basin Grassland in northeastern Wyoming will not charge day-use fees.

But they will not provide public services including restrooms, trash removal and parking lot maintenance.

Meanwhile, the offices on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland are conducting business and providing services virtually as well as continuing field patrols.

For more information, visit the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin Grassland website.

The U.S. Forest Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at the USDA's website.

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