The Salmon-Challis National Forest, north of Blaine County, is preparing for the Memorial Day weekend. The following information will help people plan their visit and “Know Before You Go” to learn about current forest conditions.
Please be advised that all Salmon-Challis National Forest offices will be closed Monday, May 28, to observe the Memorial Day holiday. Regular office hours will resume Tuesday, May 29.
The majority of campgrounds on the Salmon-Challis National Forest offer first–come, first–served site selection, although people can reserve campsites at a few campgrounds managed by the forest. Campgrounds may charge an overnight or day-use fee where improved facilities and services are provided. Water may or may not be available, depending on the campsite.
Contact your local Forest Service office for a list of local campgrounds that accept reservations. To reserve a campsite, call 1-877-444-6777 or visit www.Recreation.gov. Reservations should be made in advance.
Visitors can also camp in areas outside of developed campgrounds, called “dispersed sites.” In many areas of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, dispersed camping is allowed up to 300 feet from an open road, at no charge. Potable water, toilets and other amenities are not generally available. If you choose to camp outside developed areas, be sure to bring adequate water or be prepared to purify any water source before drinking. Campers who choose to stay in dispersed sites should take extra care to protect natural resources. If you camp at a dispersed site, “leave no trace” during your stay. Use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash.
Despite the recent cool and wet spring, please remember to extinguish all campfires.
Many lower-elevation trails on the Salmon-Challis National Forest are currently accessible, and crews are continuing to clear more trails as weather and conditions allow. Please consider hazards involved with using forest trails, such as uneven terrain and steep grades, before heading out on the trail. In places recently impacted by fire, watch out for hazards such as falling trees, rolling logs and rocks, poor tread, and holes from burned-out stumps. Make appropriate safety considerations before leaving, which may include changing your travel plans. Be aware that conditions can change very quickly.
Conditions are changing rapidly as snow melts and spring weather causes break–ups in terrain. Contact the ranger district where you plan to travel for the latest updates on road conditions. Due to recent weather, wet and muddy conditions on roads are widespread. If a route is too muddy for motorized travel, do not travel on it, to avoid excessive damage. It is critical to stay on designated routes. Motor-vehicle use maps show designated routes for motorized recreation users. Maps are available at all forest offices or can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/2mvums .
Off-highway vehicle users should 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 Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation website at www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov for a listing of registration sticker vendors and regulations.
Forest visitors should always be prepared to stay longer than expected due to rapidly changing circumstances. Weather conditions such as high water, precipitation, and wind can rapidly change conditions on the ground. Wind can blow trees across roadways and trails. High water and precipitation can wash debris across roadways and trails, block access, or completely wash out routes. Be sure to let someone know where you are going and be prepared with extra food and clothing.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest experienced considerable snowpack this winter, and forest officials expect that campgrounds, trails and other popular recreation locations in the high country may open a few weeks later than usual as snow continues to melt. For the latest condition updates, contact the local ranger district where you wish to travel before you visit the Forest. Forest information is available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/scnf .
The Salmon-Challis National Forest website provides recreation-specific information about campgrounds, road and trail conditions, and contact information for your local forest office. Please visit http://bit.ly/2camptoday for more information.