The U.S. Forest Service will delay the opening of all recreation sites and not allow camping or campfires until further notice in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The service announced the changes Friday, when it said it also will limit the size of groups to 10 or fewer in the forest as a whole.

All developed campgrounds are closed until further notice. Reservations will be canceled and refunds issued for May. The Forest Service will monitor the situation to decide whether to open on a first-come, first-serve basis in June or further delay openings.

Also closed are day-use areas such as trailheads, picnic areas, boat landings, beaches and Mountain Fire Tower, as well as Lost Lake cabins, the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center and Forest Lodge.

Trails, restroom facilities and dispersed camping are closed as well.

The general forest remains open to the public, including forest roads for hiking, biking and scenic driving.

People are urged to avoid the forest if they are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. Visitors are asked to follow U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and after the visit.

Garbage receptacles have been removed, so visitors must pack out their own trash. If an area is crowded, people should look for a less occupied site and try to avoid the forest during peak hours.

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