BLM to reopen Little Sahara Recreation Area Wednesday

Little Sahara Recreation Area. Photo Courtesy: BLM

FILLMORE, Utah, May 13, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Bureau of Land Management  announced Wednesday it will reopen the Little Sahara Recreation Area following updates to COVID-19-related restrictions.

“The BLM is working with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and use a phased approach to increase access on a case-by-case basis,” said a news release.

Consistent with the State of Utah’s recommendations, the BLM encourages visitors to recreate close to home.

“Visitors should follow all CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 by staying home when sick, washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid touching your face, and socially distance from other groups,” the news release said. “High risk category visitors are encouraged to remain at home.”

Visitors will be required to pay the day-use fee through the self-pay tubes located in the visitor center parking lot and purchase annual passes over the phone by contacting the BLM at 435-743-3100. The day-use fee will continue to cover two days and one night of access to the recreation area.

To offset the inconvenience of the closure, previously purchased season passes will be honored for an additional two months beyond the expiration date.

“The BLM is committed to both public safety and providing outstanding opportunities for recreation,” said Fillmore Field Manager Mike Gates. “Over the past two months, we have been working closely with local authorities to make sure we are balancing both appropriately. We ask the public to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, as well as the restrictions we will put in place to protect the public while enjoying recreation at Little Sahara Recreation Area.”

Social distancing and dispersed camping restrictions at the recreation area include:

  • Visitors are expected to bring personal hand sanitizing items, face masks, and other safety items that will help prevent the spread of disease in common areas, such as bathrooms, water fill stations, and dump stations.
  • Consistent with the Governor Gary R. Herbert’s Utah Leads Together 2.0 plan, groups larger than 20 individuals must not congregate within the recreation area.
  • Visitors who are dispersed camping must maintain a minimum of 300 feet between camps. All group gatherings must not exceed 20 individuals.
  • Camping at Sand Mountain and Jericho will be permitted according to the dispersed camping restrictions.
  • Oasis and White Sands designated campgrounds will be open and subject to the 20-person group size restrictions.
  • Visitors must enter restrooms one person at a time. Visitors are expected to line up 6-10 feet apart outside the restrooms.

With public safety in mind, the visitor center remains closed to public use at this time.

“While most of the recreation area is now accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to pre-COVID-19 operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited,” the new release said. “When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, plan ahead and prepare, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.”

Details and updates on operations will continue to be posted on the BLM website.

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