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Visitation high on public lands

Many state forests in North Carolina are seeing visitation two or three times greater than what is typical this time of year, stretching resources and making it harder for people to practice proper social distancing. 

“Public lands, including state forests and parks, and national forests are experiencing record-high attendance, making social distancing difficult to achieve,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “While public lands are a great natural resource, we are urging visitors to observe the CDC and public health’s recommendations of 6 feet of spacing between each other, frequent and thorough hand washing and staying home if you do not feel well.”

Heavy visitation has spurred many public lands to issue temporary public closures. Responsible use is necessary to ensure that additional closures will not be required. 

Members of the public should: pursue outdoor recreation close to home rather than traveling long distances; evaluate any local guidance or restrictions before heading outside; expect closures and use the restroom before leaving home; avoid high-use places and times; keep hiking groups to three or fewer people; wash your hands and follow CDC guidelines; be a steward for nature and the people around you. 

Closures in North Carolina State Parks are listed at www.ncparks.gov; national forest closures are available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/currentclosures.

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