FARMINGTON – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management field office in Farmington announced Monday some recreation areas will begin opening this week, in another sign of relaxing social-distancing and public health orders in the area.
The BLM Farmington field office said as of Monday the Simon Canyon Recreation Area and the Brown Springs Campground will both open for day-use and camping. The Bisti Wilderness area will open for day-use only.
“The Four Corners area offers some of the most beautiful and exciting recreational opportunities in New Mexico,” said Rick Fields, BLM Farmington Field Office manager. “We encourage visitors to utilize public lands, but we strongly encourage them to take precautions, such as social distancing and the use of facial coverings, to stay healthy as they enjoy the outdoors.”
To follow public health recommendations, all of the vault toilets at BLM Farmington recreation sites will remain closed, except at the Bisti Wilderness, according to the field office.
The Farmington field office’s announcement comes a few weeks after other BLM offices throughout the state began to open recreation sites to day-use and camping. On June 8, the field offices throughout New Mexico opened to the public, with the exception of the Farmington office. The San Juan County office was delayed as a result of higher case counts of COVID-19.
The field office will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the public is asked to call (505) 564-7600 before showing up to the office.
“At the Farmington Field Office, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and to regularly monitor these,” the news release said.
The field office said although those areas are open to people to visit, full operations in the recreation areas will be phased in and services will continue to be limited. Each site is considered on a case-by-case basis, according to the agency. Visitors to the BLM recreation sites are encouraged to practice social distancing and Leave No Trace principles and follow public health orders from local agencies and the New Mexico Department of Health.
Colorado, whose state parks and recreation sites began opening before New Mexico’s, is requiring reservations in advance for camping, and most parks are operating at 50% capacity.
While more recreational sites are opening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to avoid high-risk activities.