Staff Report

The USDA Pacific Southwest Region has issued a Regional Order that prohibits overnight camping in developed campgrounds in Los Padres National Forest and four other Southern California national forests. This Regional Order will be in effect December 8 through January 6, 2021.

The purpose of the Regional Order is to protect visitors and U.S. Forest Service employees by reducing potential exposure to COVID-19 and mitigating any further burden on our emergency responders and healthcare facilities.

Current projections show that without additional steps to slow the spread of coronavirus, the number of available adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in California will reach capacity by mid-December.As California along with the rest of the nation continues to experience an unprecedented surge in new COVID-19 cases, the rate of new increases threatens to overwhelm the state’s hospital system.

In response, the state on December 3 issued a Regional Stay-at-Home Order for areas where the number of adult ICU beds has fallen below 15 percent of capacity. The U.S. Forest Service’s Regional Order aligns with California’s December 3 Order that prohibits “overnight stays at campgrounds” while permitting the continued operation of outdoor recreation facilities in these areas. 

Developed day use areas as well as hiking, dispersed camping and Off Highway Vehicle trails will remain open for use in Los Padres National Forest. 

Visitors who have existing reservations at Los Padres National Forest concessionaire-managed campgrounds are encouraged to contact Parks Management Company or to reschedule their visit or request a refund. 

We encourage visitors to be familiar with and follow current federal and state guidelines for responsible recreation activities on public lands. Please keep health, safety and natural resources in mind when visiting Los Padres National Forest. Together, our personal responsibility will help to ensure public safety and prevent further restrictions.

Additional public information is available at Los Padres National Forest’s public website.