Multnomah Falls will no longer be accessible to hikers looking to check out the waterfalls as the Forest Service tries to slow the spread of coronavirus in Oregon.
Most amenities at Multnomah Falls Lodge closed earlier in the week but officials said Sunday they would take the bigger step of erecting a physical barrier after it became apparent visitors were not properly social distancing at viewpoints and other areas around the falls.
“We will be closing the area around Multnomah Falls Lodge at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Rachel Pawlitz, a Forest Service spokesperson said Sunday. “That will require us putting a barrier up.”
Pawlitz said some trails would be open but the plaza, viewing areas and trail to the upper platform will all be closed to limit exposure for staff and visitors.
“We are taking things day to day,” Pawlitz said, “and we will continue to monitor whether we need to close more.”
Though some trails will be open, Pawlitz said the Forest Service is asking people to consider that transmission of COVID-19 can happen from people who don’t show symptoms of the virus.
“We are asking people not to hike on any of our crowded gorge trails right now,” she said, “and are asking people to just walk in their neighborhood.”
Pawlitz said in these areas it just is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines that recommend people separate themselves by at least six feet.
Also Sunday, officials announced that all Oregon State Parks are set to close Monday in response to the growing outbreak.
— Lizzy Acker
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