Silver City, NM, April 7, 2020 -- On Monday, March 16, the Gila National Forest began offering virtual services to protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with guidance from federal and state authorities.

Beginning immediately, any customers who need to purchase forest products are encouraged to call their closest ranger district during regular business hours for prompt customer service. The opportunity to purchase forest products over the phone using debit/credit cards will be offered to our customers, as well as instructions on options to mail in payment (check or money order only) and receive your permit. There are two free-use areas on the Gila NF - Signal Peak on Silver City Ranger District, and the roadside free-use area on the boundary of the Glenwood and Reserve Ranger District off of NM State Road 159. Free use fuelwood still needs a permit.

"As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety Is our number one priority", said Adam Mendonca, Forest Supervisor. " We are committed to continuing to support our communities and fulfil our mission as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19."

Contact your local ranger district for office hours and availability and detailed instructions on the process to purchase your forest products.

Visitors to our National Forest are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/gila