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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Celebrate Fourth of July on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

Kamiah, Idaho (June 22, 2018) – Fourth of July is a favorite time for Americans to visit their National Forests! The following information will help you plan your visit to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

Please be advised that Forest Service offices will be closed on Wed., July 4. Stop by before then to purchase a firewood permit, obtain a mushroom permit, acquire forest maps, or ask any questions you may have before the
holiday!

Recreation Information

Remember, fireworks are ALWAYS prohibited on National Forests and other public lands! There are no fire restrictions at this time, but recreationists are reminded to use caution with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark. Never leave campfires unattended; remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave! Pour water and add dirt to your campfire until it is cold. One spark is all it takes to start a wildfire that could burn thousands of acres of our National Forests, impacting its wildlife, recreation opportunities, and beautiful landscapes.

Report all fires to 911 or the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center: (208) 983-6800.

Dozens of campgrounds will be open for visitors during the Fourth of July holiday, and many have helpful hosts who can provide information about outdoor recreation in the local area. Camping is also allowed at sites outside of developed campgrounds, known as “dispersed sites.” If you camp at a dispersed site, leave no trace of your stay; use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash.

Most campgrounds offer first–come, first–served site selection, but a few campgrounds have sites that you can reserve. To reserve a campsite, call toll free at 1 (877) 444-6777 or reserve online at www.Recreation.gov.

Trail crews have been working on many trails on the forest so far this season clearing brush and maintaining tread. Many forest trails are accessible at this time, but visitors should be prepared to encounter high creek crossings, downed trees, rocks, and debris; always travel with care.

Visit www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/home/?cid=fseprd506117 and check with your local ranger station for a complete list of trails that have been cleared to date. Not all trails are open to all uses, and trails are clearly marked for the type of use allowed. Please stay on trails designated for their intended use and notify other users and Forest Service personnel of any hazards you may encounter.

Conditions by District

PALOUSE RANGER DISTRICT: Giant White Pine, Laird Park, and Little Boulder campgrounds are great places to spend the holiday weekend. Lard Park Campground has fully re–opened for the season following hazard tree removal. Elk Creek Campground, one mile north of Elk River, accepts reservations and boasts good RV access as well as electrical hookup sites. The Palouse Ranger District also has three picnic sites that can be reserved for your fun–filled Fourth of July get–together.

Bald Mountain Lookout is on schedule to open on July 1. Lookout rentals are in high demand and reservations typically need to be made months in advance! There are still scattered dates available at Bald Mountain Lookout for this summer–please visit Recreation.gov to make a reservation.

NORTH FORK RANGER DISTRICT: Aquarius, Washington Creek, Noe Creek, and Kelly Forks campgrounds are currently open with potable water. Weitas Creek and Cedars campgrounds are also open but do not have water available; campers should plan to bring their own. Rocky Ridge Lake is still inaccessible due to snow. Cold Springs Peak Cabin can be reserved and is expected to open in mid–July once snow recedes; visit Recreation.gov to book your trip.

The Kelly Forks Visitor Center is now staffed for the season! Stop in to purchase a map, flies, refreshments, or souvenirs, including Kelly Forks and North Fork Ranger District apparel! Our staff at the visitor center look forward to helping you make the most of your visit to the North Fork.

Forest Service road (FSR) 250 (Pierce–Superior Road) and FSR 247 (Beaver Creek Road) have been cleared and graded, but conditions of spur roads vary. A detour is currently in effect on FSR 247 due to culvert replacement activities, but crews plan to pause operations during the week of Fourth of July and open the road for visitor travel.

Conditions at Hoodoo Pass are changing rapidly. Visitors are encouraged to call the North Fork Ranger District or the Superior Ranger Station (Superior, Mont.; 406-822-4233) for updates as to when the pass may be accessible to through travel.

LOCHSA/POWELL RANGER DISTRICT: Two campsites on the Lochsa/Powell Ranger District–Wilderness Gateway and Powell–accept reservations. Wilderness Gateway, Powell, and Whitehouse campgrounds all have good access for RVs. Powell Campground offers electrical hookup sites, and Apgar and Wild Goose campgrounds offer excellent opportunities for tent camping. All of these campgrounds are located along U.S. Highway 12.

Snow is likely to persist in the high country, and at lower elevations, mud and runoff from spring break–up conditions can limit travel. Visitors may encounter downed trees and debris, making travel difficult. Motorists are encouraged to pack a chainsaw. Call the Kooskia Ranger Station or Lolo Pass Visitor Center for the latest updates.

MOOSE CREEK RANGER DISTRICT: O’Hara Campground, located seven miles east of Lowell along FSR 223 (Selway River Road), accepts reservations and has good access for RVs. There are several campgrounds along the beautiful Selway River that can accommodate campers who would like a first–come, first–served site. This includes the Johnson Bar, Rackcliff, Boyd, Glover, and Selway Falls campgrounds. There are numerous dispersed campsites available on the district as well. 

Landslides and wash–outs have impacted several roads on the Moose Creek Ranger District. FSR 651 (O’Hara Road) is closed from milepost 6 to the junction with FSR 1129. FSR 319 (Fog Mountain Road) and FSR 290 (Indian Hill Road) are closed to vehicles greater than 50” wide. Call the Fenn Ranger Station for the latest updates.

SALMON RIVER RANGER DISTRICT: Campgrounds on the Salmon River Ranger District are open and welcoming visitors! A campground host is available at Fish Creek Campground, located seven miles out of Grangeville. Spring Bar Campground, located along the Salmon River, is open and potable water is available. A stay at the Adams Ranger Station cabin, located near Grangeville, is a great alternative to camping. To make a reservation, visit Recreation.gov.

The pavilion at Fish Creek Campground will be closed for maintenance starting June 25 and unavailable for visitor use. The pavilion is scheduled to re–open no later than July 6, and may open earlier if the project is completed sooner.

FSR 221 (Grangeville–Salmon Road) is open and in good condition. FSR 9338a (Jimmy Lee Road) and Adams Pit are currently closed due to timber harvest operations. FSR 444 (Square Mountain Road) is partially open; there are snowy sections, but conditions are improving. Visitors are encouraged to contact the Slate Creek Ranger Station for the latest updates.

For information about roads and trails in the Seven Devils, call the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area office in Riggins (208-628-3916) or the Slate Creek Ranger Station.

RED RIVER RANGER DISTRICT: Now is a great time to camp along the South Fork of the Clearwater River! South Fork and Castle Creek campgrounds have good RV access and potable water. A campground host is available at South Fork Campground to help you enjoy your stay. Red River Campground, located southeast of Elk City, is also open with potable water.

The popular Magruder Road (FSR 468, also known as the Montana Road) is not currently open to through traffic. As of June 21, travelers leaving Elk City can drive as far as Poet Creek (milepost 25). Please contact the Red River Ranger District (Elk City, Idaho) or the West Fork Ranger Station (Darby, Mont.; 406-821-3269) for updates, as conditions are changing rapidly on the Magruder Road.

More Information

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center and Lochsa Historical Ranger Station will be open on July 4 to welcome visitors, so make sure to stop by for a visit! The Lolo Pass Visitor Center, located on U.S. Highway 12 at the Idaho–Montana state line, is open seven days a week and transitions to full summer hours (7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. [PDT]) on June 24. The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, located 48 miles east of Kooskia on U.S. Highway 12, is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We encourage you to visit our website or contact your local ranger station for more information about the area you are interested in before you begin your trip. Contact information for your local ranger station can be found atwww.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/about-forest/offices.

Trail conditions can be found online at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/home/?cid=fseprd506117.

The Alerts & Notices webpage (www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices) contains lots of important information, including road condition reports.

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests would like to wish everyone an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July!