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BLM & NFS – Will they Close Public Land?

Will they close public land due to the Coronavirus? The Bureau of Land Management & National Forest Service would have to decide

As Government and Health officials urge the public to stay inside and limit time spent outside to exercise, getting food, or tending to a medical need- the agency that is in charge of the ‘outdoors’ (the public land, at least) has sent a confusing message- “Enjoy the outdoors.” While some states, such as Washington, have closed their public lands through their state agencies, most have left hiking trails open while closing facilities like restrooms, visitor centers, and campgrounds. After all, one of the exceptions to the stay-at-home orders is exercise, and there are numerous National Parks that provide a beautiful backdrop for a jog or hike. The problem, however, could be seen at the onset of the pandemic in locales such as Arches National Park in Utah.

When restaurants are practically closed, movie theaters shuttered, and most other types of public recreation prohibited… lots of people flock to what is open and in this case- it’s the national parks and public lands. Thus, this COVID-19 contagion proliferates further. Whether public land should close is a topic that quickly becomes a controversial, and even paradoxical, as the word “public” implies that access is not private. The current resolution is a fair one, it seems- as long as those who are using the space for recreational exercise do so responsibly with proper social distancing techniques– the hiking trails and such will remain accessible. Picnic areas, playgrounds, and campsites might be a whole other matter.

While the Bureau of Land Management and the National Forest Service are responsible for Federally owned land, as aforementioned: some public areas may be operated and owned by the State Government. Depending on the activity and area, there might be some restrictions that are in place for the state’s land but not the National land.

Stay Safe &

Until Next Time,

**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.

Close Public Land? BLM