SENEY – The Seney National Wildlife Refuge recently anounced the following services and operations are suspended until further notice in order to comply with federal, state and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19):
-Visitor center operations remain closed
-All public events scheduled for the month of June are cancelled
-Spotting scopes are not installed at observation decks
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers and partners at Seney National Wildlife Refuge is our number one priority,” a news release from the refuse stated. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working service wide with federal, state and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.”
Outdoor spaces at Seney National Wildlife Refuge remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state and local health guidance, including:
-The Marshland Wildlife Drive is open
-The Fishing Loop and designated pools are open for fishing
-The outdoor restrooms at the headquarters building are open
-More than 10 miles of foot paths are open for hiking
-Many miles of backcountry roads are open for hiking or bicycling
Refuge restrooms will be cleaned once per day and will be closed several hours prior to cleaning to allow them to sit vacant out of consideration/safety for the cleaning staff. While the restrooms are closed, there is a portable toilet available in the same general location.
There is also a portable toilet at the Show Pools Shelter. It is available instead of the existing pittoilet and will be cleaned by the vendor once a week. The portable toilets have hand washing facilities.
The refuge staff will evaluate use and issues during the upcoming weeks and adapt as needed.
“Hopefully you will be able to coordinate your refuge visits so that you do not have to use public restrooms, but they are available when you need them,” the release stated. “Even though they will be regularly tended to, please follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting the refuge and be prepared to be able to tend to hygiene even if restroom supplies are not available at the time you use the facilities.
And, please remember to give yourself and other visitors a trumpeter swan’s wingspan of space (six to eight feet) between you as you enjoy overlooks, foot trails, benches, etc.,” the release continued. “Please take care of yourselves and help us take care of our Refuge. Contact us if you have questions or want to report issues.”
Access to outdoor areas may close if conditions change. If contemplating a visit to a national wildlife refuge during this pandemic, visitors are asked to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees.
As services are limited and visitors are asked to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.