White River National Forest visitors asked to be aware, responsible this weekend
Developed campgrounds, restroom facilities will be closed until sometime in June
White River National Forest officials remind visitors that while most of the forest is open, developed sites including campgrounds and toilets will remain closed until they can safely be operated sometime in the first part of June.
“We are working hard to safely open our developed facilities,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said. “Outside of developed areas like designated campgrounds and restrooms, and permitted areas such as Hanging Lake, the forest is mostly open for responsible recreation.”
The White River National Forest remains open to dispersed camping, hiking and other recreation. Restrooms and trash facilities are not open, so plan accordingly, practice leave-no-trace principles, and pack out what you bring in. Remember to follow state and local guidelines and practice social distancing.
“People will need to self-regulate,” Fitzwilliams said. “If you see an area that is getting crowded, find an alternate location. If you see a busy trailhead, keep driving and find a trail with fewer people.”
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Stage 1 fire restrictions are in place in the Dillon Ranger District, but campfires are currently allowed in other areas of the White River National Forest. Fitzwilliams stressed the need to ensure campfires are enjoyed safely and completely extinguished before leaving camp.
“Abandoned campfires are always a problem, but it has been particularly noticeable this spring,” Fitzwilliams said. “We are doing what we can to ensure the public can safely visit and enjoy the forest, and we need their help to ensure that visitation is done responsibly.”
Typical spring conditions make some areas of the White River National Forest inaccessible. Fitzwilliams reminded visitors to stay off of muddy roads and to obey gate closures, which are in place to protect roads and wildlife.
The White River National Forest keeps the most current conditions and facilities status updated on its website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.
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After a sudden stop in March and extended isolation, people may be ready to travel or play. But don’t expect a full-throttle return this summer.