Although the people of the State of Arizona are being encouraged to get out and exercise, non essential travel is not. Crowds at Sedona’s most popular trails have made it necessary for the Coconino National Forest and local authorities to close due to lack of social distancing. The City of Sedona has released the following news article describing the closures.
SEDONA, Ariz. – To continue measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Coconino National Forest’s Red Rock Ranger District, in coordination with Verde Valley and county leaders, have decided by Saturday, April 4, 2020, the most popular trails and trailheads will be closed until further notice.
The five areas that will close are:
- Bell Rock Trailhead.
- Cathedral Rock Trail and Trailhead.
- Courthouse Vista Trailhead.
- Devil’s Bridge Trail including off-highway vehicle (OHV) access, surrounding associated trails, and accompanying parking areas including the Dry Creek Trailhead and roadside parking at Dry Creek Road and Forest Road 152.
- West Fork Trail and Trailhead.
Despite over 75 percent of Americans under some form of lockdown order, the Forest Service observed large groups not practicing social distancing at the most popular recreation sites.
“We realize these popular destinations in Sedona are places people rejuvenate by getting outside and experiencing the beauty this area has to offer,” said Red Rock District Ranger Amy Tinderholt. “However, the unfortunate reality at these locations during this pandemic has been continued high use, causing crowds to form and people lining up just to hike or get to the end of the trail. We will not keep trails and areas open that create environments for COVID-19 to spread easily, which negates the important practice of social distancing.”
The city of Sedona encourages all Arizona residents to follow Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order, which specifies that residents should only leave their homes for essential reasons. While exercise is encouraged by the governor, non-essential travel is not.
“We’re happy to see the Red Rock Ranger District is doing the right thing and joining other tourist sites in Sedona by closing areas where large groups tend to congregate. All those wanting to visit Sedona should follow the Governor’s orders, stay home and reschedule for another time,” said Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriarty.
These closures add to a list of popular sites also closed including:
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Fossil Creek
- Crescent Moon Day-Use Site
- Beaver Creek Day-Use Site
- Chapel of the Holy Cross
The rest of the Sedona trail network will remain open for the time being for locals to continue to exercise, and the Red Rock Ranger District will monitor if additional closures are needed.
To learn more information on the city’s response to COVID-19, and what resources are available for the community and businesses, go to www.sedonaaz.gov/covid19.
For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Coconino National Forest website, go here.
Look to the following CDC, state and county resources for more information on COVID-19:
- Coconino County Health and Human Services COVID-19 hotline: 928-679-7300 and website.
- Yavapai County Health Services hotline: 928-442-5103 and website.
- Coconino County COVID-19 testing information.
- Statewide hotline on all COVID-19-related issues: dial 211.
- CDC website on coronavirus.
- Tips on coronavirus prevention and 10 ways to manage respiratory symptoms at home.
- Arizona Department of Health and Human Services information.
- CDC’s travel notices.
- The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.