ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — If you’ve been itching to get out and enjoy a picnic at Daniel Boone National Forest, the chance has returned.
While most of the Daniel Boone National Forest remained open during the pandemic for hiking, fishing or hunting, finding a place to relax and eat lunch with the family was limited. As of June 3rd though, picnic areas have reopened.
“People have been pent up and anxious to get out and I totally understand that. We’re glad to have folks come out. We just ask them to recreate responsibly,” said Public Affairs Staff Officer Tim Eling.
Shooting ranges and the White Sulphur OHV Trail also reopened this week. Eling says they expect to see plenty of people take advantage of the reopenings and the biggest piece of advice he has is to plan ahead. When packing up your hiking and day essentials, remember to throw in a mask, hand sanitizer and maybe even a pair of gloves. Also, plan a back-up location. Even though you’re outside, you should still keep your distance from a large crowd.
“If you pull up to a trailhead and its full or overflowing, maybe think about a secondary trail to go visit,” said Eling. “The forest is over 700,000 acres and we have over 600 miles of trails. I’m sure there’s a trail out there that you could find that is not crowded.”
Eling says workers are taking health and safety measures for visitors and themselves.
“Some of those people are cleaning areas like toilet facilities, emptying trash, cleaning picnic tables, things like that,” he said.
While day use areas are open now, campgrounds don’t open until June 11th. You can stay updated on reopening dates by visiting the Daniel Boone National Forest’s Page on the USDA’s website.
Forest officials also want to remind people to keep other safety measures in mind as they return to park sites, like campfire safety. Only start fires in designated areas and make sure it's really out before you walk away. This means separating the logs and using plenty of water.