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Opening dates for rec sites shifting; beware cold, swift water

The Plumas National Forest estimated opening dates for several popular high-elevation recreation sites on the forest are being shifted to June 29 and June 30, with some sites still not expected to open until mid-July.

Estimated opening dates are still tentative and will depend on the amount of damage from winter storms and snow loads.

Wyandotte, Tooms, Peninsula Tent, Black Rock and Horse Camp campgrounds, Tooms Boat Launch and Pancake Beach Day Use Area in Little Grass Valley are now expected to open June 30.  Running Deer, Red Feather and Little Beaver campgrounds may not open until mid-July.

Estimates for Gold Lake and Lakes Basin campgrounds and Gold Lake Boat Ramp have been adjusted to June 29 by Outdoors in Plumas.  Similarly, both Outdoors in Plumas and PG&E are now estimating June 29, the Thursday before the July 4 holiday weekend, for Bucks Lake Campgrounds and Sandy Point Boat Launch.

“After so many years of drought, a lot of people are used to being able to access our recreation sites weeks earlier than what was normal during average precipitation years,” said Plumas National Forest Recreation and Lands Program Manager Erika Brenzovich.  “This year, historic snowfall and resulting storm damage that needs to be addressed for public safety, is delaying recreation site openings, especially at higher elevations.”

At sites recreation managers have been able to access, including Wyandotte and Whitehorse campgrounds, a large number of hazard trees are being identified that have been killed or severely damaged over the winter.  These trees need to be felled and removed before campgrounds can open for the season.

“Forest Service crews, Outdoors in Plumas and PG&E are doing their best to get the work done and perform the necessary maintenance to open recreation sites as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Plumas National Forest Recreation and Lands Program Manager Erika Brenzovich.

Residents living in the area near Wyandotte Campground and the community of La Porte will also see increased equipment and firefighter traffic operating in the area over the next two weeks to clear heavy fuels, including trees knocked down during a weather event a few years ago.

In the Feather River Canyon, Hallsted and Spanish Creek campgrounds are open.  The campgrounds on Caribou Road – Queen Lily, North Fork and Gansner Bar – are still closed due to the California State Highway 70 closure and slide repair work.  Access has also been affected by landslides last week on Caribou Road.  There is not a projected date for those sites to reopen.

The culvert replacement and road repair project on Forest Road 29N43, also known as Antelope Lake Road, between Genessee and the Antelope Lake Dam is ongoing.  However, the road is being reopened weekends during the summer recreation season between 5 p.m. Fridays and 6 a.m. Mondays.

A full closure of Milsap Bar is expected to start soon to replace a retaining wall on the west side the bridge over the Middle Fork of the Feather River.  The retaining wall was significantly damaged during the North Complex fire.

Campers and other recreational users should plan on bringing plenty of drinking water in case water systems aren’t cleared for potable water.

At Sly Creek Reservoir Recreation Area and Strawberry Campground, visitors should bring all of the water they will need, as the water systems at these sites need to be repaired.

Weather can be variable this time of year.  This week has seen temperatures significantly below average.  There is generally a risk of thunderstorms popping up as well.  Visitors to the Forest should be prepared for changing conditions.

Lakes and rivers are also exceptionally cold and running fast due to runoff from snowpack.  Swift moving water can be exceptionally dangerous.  There is a lot of debris in rivers which can act as “strainers,” allowing water to move through while still blocking the waterway.  These are generally impossible to escape.  Creeks and rivers should be avoided until flows become safe to recreate in.

Area residents and visitors are also reminded to use caution with anything that can spark a wildfire.  This includes never leaving a campfire unattended and making sure it is dead out and cold to the touch before leaving.  Trailer chains need to be secured and tires properly inflated to avoid throwing a spark.  Motorized equipment should have properly functioning spark arresters.

The Plumas National Forest has also received numerous lightning strikes over the past few weeks.  Lightning fires can holdover for several weeks, becoming visible as conditions dry out.  Firefighters are monitoring conditions and responding to suspected lightning fires.

Area residents and visitors are advised to watch for increased firefighter traffic in the coming days.  Suspected wildfires can be reported by calling 911.

For more information on the Plumas National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/plumas or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas.


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