All national forest lands in Idaho have a 10-person group size limit for outdoor recreation, following an April 29 directive from the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region office.

A news release from the Forest Service said the limit is in alignment with federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of employees, visitors and volunteers because of the potential to spread the coronavirus.

Deputy Regional Forester Dave Rosenkrance said while the order may seem to place additional restrictions on the recreating public, it may allow for some closed sites to be reopened and it can provide an alternative to closing sites where social distancing can’t be ensured.

All forest closures across the region are being evaluated frequently, Rosenkrance said, because the effects of COVID-19 vary by individual communities.

People should contact their local Forest Service offices to find out details about what is open or closed near them. Forest Service officials recommend that forest visitors take everything they need when visiting the forest, search for areas where other people haven’t already gathered, not visit a forest site if they are sick or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on personal hygiene and social distancing and to haul out trash because garbage isn’t being collected. They also remind forest visitors that many restrooms are not open nor being maintained during the pandemic.