During this challenging time, the National Forest Foundation wants to ensure Americans remain knowledgeable and safe when visiting our public lands. As owners of 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands, we all need to be good stewards of these special places.

During the partial government shutdown, the US Forest Service is unfortunately unable to maintain our public lands. Therefore, it’s up to all visitors to be respectful and responsible while visiting. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan a visit to our National Forests.

Photo by Anna Garrison

Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

Regular services are probably not happening. Keep in mind that while Forest Service staff are unable to work, basic services like trash pick-up and bathroom maintenance are unavailable.

Visit our National Forests safely. Without agency staff, be aware that many snow plowing and trail or road condition updates will not be completed. We appreciate Forest Service staff for their diligent attention to safety but, in their absence, such responsibility falls entirely to us when we visit forests.

Practice Leave No Trace principles. Regardless of the time of year, all visitors to our public lands should practice these principles and kindly ask others to do the same. This will help ensure our National Forests and Grasslands stay healthy for future visitors. Here is a refresher on the principles of Leave No Trace.

At the National Forest Foundation, we’re continuing work to support our National Forests. We’re busy looking ahead to this year’s field season of on-the-ground work as well as continuing our collaborative work.

For the most up-to-date information regarding the shutdown, visit fs.fed.us/shutdown.

National Forest Foundation