When U.S. Forest Service officials last updated their announcement about the closure of roads and trails in Los Padres National Forest, on April 30, they indicated, "This closure is an interim measure. Los Padres National Forest will continue to evaluate the emerging circumstances around Covid-19 and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as state and local health departments to ensure that the safety of our employees and our visitors remains our top priority."

Starting Saturday, May 16, Forest Service spokesperson Andrew Madsen says some locations will reopen for Monterey County locals for recreation. 

"We are opening some access for local residents," he says. "We don't want to invite travelers."

To that end, all developed campgrounds will remain closed, as will trailhead access from the coastal side of the Santa Lucia Mountains in Big Sur. Select day-use areas along the coast, such as Willow Creek and Sand Dollar Beach, will reopen for recreation. 

"We want to be consistent with what our local partners are doing," Madsen says. 

Other public lands—including Monterey County parks, Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District parks, city of Monterey, Seaside, Carmel, Marina and Pacific Grove beaches, and California State Parks beaches—remain open for active reaction, but not lounging or gathering.

Madsen says some inland access roads, such as Tassajara Road, will also be reopening on Saturday.  

Other facilities, including all campgrounds in the Monterey Ranger District, will remain closed. 

UPDATE: The new closure order, in effect from May 16-31, is posted here; violations are punishable by fines of up to $5,000 for an individual (and $10,000 for an organization), six months of imprisonment, or both. It reopens three roads, and reopens just one trail: Sand Dollar/Jade Cove.

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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