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Pima County restricting access to ramadas; Coronado forest closes facilities, some sites
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Pima County restricting access to ramadas; Coronado forest closes facilities, some sites

From the Tucson-area coronavirus coverage from January to March: Nearly 1,300 cases in Arizona, stay-at-home order series

The Coronado National Forest is among the national forests closing some group sites, visitor centers and other facilities. The public spaces will remain open

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the extent of closures, which are primarily to forests' group sites, restrooms and visitor centers.

Developed portions, such as group sites, restrooms and visitor centers of national forests in Arizona and three other states are closed until June 30 because of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Forest Service Southwestern Region officials said.

Also, Pima County said Friday it was closing access to all of its park ramadas beginning Monday.

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation said it would no longer accept reservations for ramadas at county parks until the health emergency has passed. Refunds will be issued to anyone who has already made a reservation. Park staff will wrap each ramada with caution tape and place "closed" signs on them starting on Monday.

Also, the town of Oro Valley said it was closing playgrounds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, fenced dog parks and ramadas at town parks to the public effective at 8 p.m. Friday.

The portions of the forests, including grasslands, in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma will remain closed until June 30, or until the order is rescinded.

"To protect public health and safety and align with state and local measures" to contain the coronavirus the Coronado National Forest is limiting services in developed recreation sites as well as a temporary shut down of group-use sites, according to its website.

The vast majority of the forest will be open to visitors. However, campgrounds, day-use sites and other developed recreation facilities will have gates closed to discourage high concentrations of visitors, states the website. Visitor centers in the forest, including at Sabino Canyon, have been closed to the public.

Recreation on the forest include hiking and biking on trails, dispersed camping and other activities that support social distancing and small groups.

In Arizona, restricted sections of national forests are Coronado, Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar

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