While the White Mountains National Forest remains open, many high-use areas were closed out of concern for the safety of employees, visitors, and volunteers, according to a press release. Due to “unseasonably high” numbers of visitors to the area, officials wrote, there was concern about the spread of the virus by visitors “not able or willing” to follow social distancing guidelines.
“As the warmer weather approaches, the Forest continues to see increased visitation at recreation sites, trailheads and trails,” said Connie Carpenter, acting forest supervisor on the White Mountain National Forest, in the press release. “It is difficult to practice physical distancing and maintain high-use sites to CDC guidelines. The safety of Forest Service employees, our visitors and the local communities is priority as we operate in the new COVID-19 environment.”
Closed areas include Diana’s Baths — known for its small waterfalls — the historic 1858 Albany Covered Bridge, and the Lincoln Woods trailhead, considered the gateway to the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The closed areas will result in fewer vehicles and less congregation at trailheads, allow officials to assess the ability to work safely, help control vandalism, and meet CDC guidance and cleaning standards, according to the release.
Violators on closed trails may be fined up to $5,000, officials said.
Trails that remain open are only accessible by foot traffic “in order to discourage long distance travel and to adhere to the State’s Stay Safe at Home orders,” according to the release. “If you are able to walk to the trailhead without driving, you can access the trail.”
Here is a list of the closed trailheads and recreation sites.