HELENA -- With the unofficial beginning of summer come and gone, a normally busy weekend for the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest was not fettered by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
"Friday morning on the 22nd, right before the holiday weekend, [recreation staff] had the gates open at 7:30 a.m. and the campgrounds were filling up right after that," said acting public affairs officer Aimee Cox. "People were traveling in and ready to set up their camp and, and enjoy their weekend."
Cox said the designated campgrounds in the national forest area were at full capacity across the holiday weekend and the ability to get campground open in time was nothing short of a lot of hard work.
"That was really an amazing effort by all of our staff," said Cox. "They put their hearts and elbow grease into it and really got the campgrounds open in time. It's good to know that the public appreciated that and that they were they were able to get out and enjoy it."
Outdoor activities present fewer challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Forest Service does not sanitize restrooms between each user, but does sanitizes facilities using EPA approved disinfectants on a regular schedule.
Cox said in order to be safe when using shared facilities is to continually practice COVID-19 hygiene standards before and after using the facilities.
"We cannot guarantee a COVID free environment for our public. We do encourage our public to bring extra toilet paper, hand sanitizer and of course, their soap water to wash their hands and just follow those kind of basic hygiene standards," said Cox.
***This story was corrected on 05/29/2020. It is previously stated that Forest Service had no way of sanitizing facilities. The Forest Service said it uses EPA approved sanitizers on a regular schedule***