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Popular Devil's Head Recreation Area temporarily closes to protect public health

Devil's Head Recreation Area_fire lookout tower
Devil's Head trailhead_Douglas County Rescue
Posted at 8:44 AM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 10:44:33-04

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Devil's Head Recreation Area temporarily closed Tuesday afternoon to protect public health.

The closure includes the Devil’s Head trailhead, campground, picnic area, fire lookout tower, several Forest Service roads and the Zinn trail (NFST615). The area is about 45 minutes southwest of Sedalia.

The order will remain in effect until Dec. 1, 2020 or until rescinded, whichever comes first, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

According to the order, which can be read in full here, the purpose of this move is to “protect public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Forest Supervisor Diana Trujillo said the USFS understands that Devil’s Head recreation area is popular for visitors, but the main function of the area is wildfire detection from Devil’s Head fire lookout tower.

“These actions have been taken to limit gatherings of large numbers of people and to promote social distancing, which is not possible at this site due to the confined nature of the trail, stairs and lookout tower,” she said. “We are working in conjunction with local, regional, state and federal partners and cooperators to provide access to recreation opportunities where possible and to keep visitors, our employees and communities safe.”

The only people exempt from the order are federal, state, or local officers or members of an organized rescue or firefighting force who are working on official duty, according to the order. Anybody with special use authorization or another type of Forest Service authorization are also exempt.

According to the order, violators may face a Class B misdemeanor, a fine of no more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for no more than six months, or both.

This order is in addition to already-in-place closures and restrictions that are set to expire at the end of May.

Douglas County Search and Rescue is asking everybody to respect the order and not travel into the restricted areas.