George Washington and Jefferson National Forests reopen recreation sites for day use


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — George Washington and Jefferson National Forests officials announced on Friday that many recreation sites will reopen for day use beginning on Saturday.

The decision to reopen recreation areas will be done on a case-by-case basis. Officials released the following schedule:

  • May 22: All trailheads providing access to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail will reopen, except for Dragon’s Tooth and Spy Rock trailheads.
  • May 23: All shooting ranges will reopen. Crabtree Falls, Cascades, Pandapas Pond, and Roaring Run day use areas will reopen.
  • May 26: South Pedlar ATV Trail System will reopen.
  • May 28: Additional recreation sites will reopen, including Peters Mills Run/Taskers Gap ATV/OHV Trail System.

Campgrounds and day-use areas within campgrounds will remain closed, as well as all restrooms.

Flooding may also impact recreation site closures.

“We know the importance of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests to communities and we want people to use and enjoy the forests again . . . We are working on phased plans to reopen sites and facilities, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. And while we understand there may be some excitement from the public to return to beloved recreation areas, please respect site closures and continue to follow local, state, and federal guidelines on staying safe.”

Job Timm, George Washington and Jefferson Forests Supervisor

Visitors should supply their own PPE, including hand sanitizer, and be aware that trash services may not be available.

Officials ask visitors to avoid congregating at trailheads and/or parking areas and gathering in groups of 10 or more people. Parkgoers should be prepared to change plans if there is a high volume of people.

In order to minimize environmental impacts, visitors should practice the Leave No Trace principles found at

Park officials ask those who plan to visit to review current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with local and state guidelines for social distancing and face coverings.

For a complete list of recreation sites and operating status, click here.

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