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Forest Service campgrounds prepped for Memorial Day rush



The upcoming Memorial Day weekend provides a great opportunity to visit the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The following information will help you plan your visit.

Please be advised that all Forest Service offices on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests will be closed on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017.

Camping and Trails

Most campgrounds on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests offer first-come, first-served site selection, although you can reserve campsites at a few campgrounds managed by the forest. Contact your local Forest Service office for a list of local campgrounds that accept reservations. To reserve a campsite, call Recreation.gov at 1¬ (877) 444-6777, or visit www.Recreation.gov. Reservations should be made at least four days in advance.

Visitors can also camp in areas outside of developed campgrounds, called “dispersed sites.” However, campers who choose to stay in dispersed sites should take extra care to protect natural resources such as vegetation. If you camp at a dispersed site, leave no trace of your stay. Use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash.

Numerous trails on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are currently available for use by forest visitors. Please consider hazards involved with hiking before heading out on the trail, such as uneven terrain and steep grades. Hazards such as falling trees, rolling logs and rocks, poor tread, and holes from burned-out stumps are evident in places recently impacted by fire. Make appropriate safety considerations before heading out, which may include changing your travel plans. Be aware that conditions can change very quickly.

PALOUSE RANGER DISTRICT: All campgrounds on the Palouse Ranger District are now open. Laird Park, Little Boulder, and Giant White Pine Campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Elk Creek Campground, near the town of Elk River, features 23 sites with electrical hookups; a portion of these campground sites can be reserved through Recreation.gov. Campground hosts are in place to assist you during your stay.

Water at campgrounds on the Palouse Ranger District has not yet been tested, so plan to bring drinking water with you on your trip. There is no trash service at any of the four campgrounds on the Palouse Ranger District, so please take your refuse with you when you leave.

You can reserve group picnic areas at Little Boulder and Laird Park Campgrounds, as well as the pavilion at Elk Creek Campground, by calling the Potlatch Ranger Station.

NORTH FORK RANGER DISTRICT: It is anticipated that Aquarius, Washington Creek, and Weitas Creek Campgrounds will be open for visitor use by Memorial Day weekend. Other campgrounds on the district, including Kelly Forks and Hidden Creek Campgrounds, are currently inaccessible.

Water systems serving North Fork campgrounds are typically operational when campgrounds open. However, potable water might not be available until water tests are completed. Campers are advised to bring their own drinking water.

Almost all of the trails on the North Fork Ranger District are currently inaccessible due to snow and downed trees.

LOCHSA/POWELL RANGER DISTRICT: All campgrounds on the Lochsa/Powell Ranger District opened Monday, May 22, with the exception of Jerry Johnson Campground. Jerry Johnson Campground will be open this season starting Friday, May 26. The RV dump at Wilderness Gateway Campground will be open by Wednesday, May 24. It is expected that most sites will have potable water by Friday, May 26; signage will be posted at any campground where water is not potable. A campground host will be arriving at Wilderness Gateway Campground on Thursday, May 25.

Big Hill Trail #65 and Pete King Ridge Trail #708 are fully cleared. Mocus Point Trail #469, Van Camp Trail #16, Split Creek Trail #133, and Boulder Creek Trail #211 are partially cleared.

MOOSE CREEK RANGER DISTRICT: All campgrounds on the Moose Creek Ranger District opened Monday, May 22. It is anticipated that the RV dump at Cedar Flats will be open by Friday, May 26. For those campgrounds providing water, water has been turned on and is potable. A campground host is currently available at O’Hara Campground.

Selway River Trail #4 is cleared. Several trails on the district have been partially cleared, including Three Links Trail #405, East Moose Trail #421, Bear Creek Trail #516, Big Rock Trail #693, Glover Creek Trail #704, Gedney Trail #708, and Meadow Creek Trail #726.

SALMON RIVER RANGER DISTRICT: Fee campgrounds located along the South Fork of the Clearwater River, including Castle Creek and South Fork Campground, are open and potable water is available. Our friendly campground host is also available to help you settle in! Fish Creek Campground, located seven miles south of Grangeville, is open and potable water is available. A camp host will be on site in early June. Spring Bar Campground, located along the Salmon River, is open and potable water is available. All of these campgrounds have a fee of $12.00 a night.

Rapid River Trail, located along the Salmon River, and Johns Creek Trail, located along the South Fork of the Clearwater River, are open and offer early season hiking opportunities due to their relatively low elevation.

RED RIVER RANGER DISTRICT: Red River Campground is open and potable water is available.

Roads

Road condition reports and road closure notices can be found on our website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Please contact the Ranger District where you plan to travel for the latest updates on road conditions.

PALOUSE RANGER DISTRICT: Portions of the Palouse Divide Road #377 are currently closed; alternative routes to areas such as Bald Mountain Lookout are available. Please visit our website for the closure order and map of alternate routes.

NORTH FORK RANGER DISTRICT: Many roads on the North Fork are closed due to snow, ice, and landslides. French Mountain Road #250 is open for the first five miles, then closed between Pierce and Bungalow due to snow and ice. Between Bungalow and Kelly Forks, Road #250 is open, but is very rough with deep potholes – travel with care. Through Black Canyon, Road #250 is impassable due to deep snow, landslides, and avalanches. Deception Saddle, Road #255, is impassable due to snow and a major landslide. Toboggan Road #581 is closed due to snow. Heavy rain and melting snow might cause flooding on some roads – proceed with caution.

LOCHSA/POWELL RANGER DISTRICT: Most roads on the Powell Ranger District, including Elk Meadows Road #373 and Granite Pass Road #595, are closed due to snow. Motorists should be sure to chain up before traveling on snow-covered, back-country roads. Heavy rain and melting snow might also cause flooding on some roads–proceed with caution.

SALMON RIVER RANGER DISTRICT: Most of the roads on the Salmon River Ranger District are open, except higher elevation roads such as Square Mountain Road #444. Travelers should use caution when traveling in areas of higher elevation.

RED RIVER RANGER DISTRICT: Many Forest Service roads on the Red River Ranger District are still closed due to snow. The Magruder Road Corridor (Forest Service road 468) between Elk City, Idaho and Darby, Montana is continuing to receive snowfall and is not currently open to through travel.

Off-highway vehicle users, please note that ATVs and motorcycles driven on National Forest roads and trails are subject to state of Idaho registration laws and requirements. Contact your local motor vehicle department or the state of Idaho Parks and Recreation website (http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/) for a listing of registration sticker vendors and regulations. Also, please remember that all vehicles classed as UTVs (side-by-sides), regardless of weight or width, are not allowed on forest trails.

Visitor Centers

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center, located on Highway 12 at the Idaho-Montana state line, will be open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. The visitor center will be closed on Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 1. Lolo Pass Visitor Center may also be closed Friday, June 2 – in the event of a Friday closure, signage will be posted at the facility and an announcement will be made on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Discover-Your-Northwest-Lolo-Pass-Visitor-Center-278605048836443/). Hours of operation are 7:30a.m. to 4:15p.m (Pacific). Beginning June 11, Lolo Pass Visitor Center will be open seven days a week from 7:30a.m. to 5:00p.m.

Stop by the Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, located along Highway 12, 48 miles east of Kooskia, Idaho. Forest Service volunteers host the site and are happy to answer your questions about what life was like at remote ranger stations in days gone by. Starting Friday, May 26, the site will be open from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m., seven days a week.

More Information

For more information about activities on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, please contact your local Forest Service office or visit our website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater. Our website provides information about campgrounds, road and trail conditions, and contact information for your local Forest Service office.

Trail Conditions Reports: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/home/?cid=fseprd506117

Alerts & Notices, including Road Conditions: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices

Contact Information for Local Offices: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/about-forest/offices



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