Sedona, National Forest Officials Weigh Closure Of Popular Trails

Apr 1, 2020

Sedona’s mayor is in talks with Coconino National Forest officials to close several popular hiking trails and trailheads as large crowds continue to gather.

Bell Rock in the Village of Oak Creek is a popular hiking and cycling destination but large crowds continue to arrive despite COVID-19 physical distancing recommendations.
Credit roadslesstraveled.us

Mayor Sandy Moriarty’s office says physical distancing is not being practiced at Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, and visitation and trail usage in the area have grown despite the coronavirus outbreak. Officials also say dispersed camping on the forest is also at much higher levels.

Some Verde Valley and Yavapai County leaders are also advocating for the possible closures. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce and the CEO of the Tourism Bureau support the move.

The mayor is asking people to stay home to prevent the spread and protect vulnerable residents and healthcare workers.

“All those wanting to visit Sedona should stay home and reschedule for another time. We cannot afford to risk the capacity of our local hospitals or the lives of our healthcare workers and vulnerable citizens because people want to take a vacation,” she said in a press release.

According to Moriarty’s office, forest managers will assess possible closures in the coming days. Coconino officials have already closed managed areas and developed campgrounds on the forest.