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Summer Recreation has arrived on the Eldorado National Forest

Eldorado National Forest Releases New Interactive Map to Help Plan Your Recreation Adventures For the Summer

Summer has arrived on the Eldorado National Forest. Crews have been busy getting the forest ready for the rush of  visitors expected this summer. Visitors are reminded to check the status of their favorite campgrounds as not all facilities are typically open at the beginning of the season depending on their elevation.
CAMPGROUND STATUS – Campgrounds that open for Memorial Weekend are Fashoda, Silver Creek, Wolf Creek, Yellowjacket, Ice House, Wench Creek, Gerle Creek, Sunset (sites 62 to 131), Dru Barner campground, Strawberry Point, Jones Fork, Northwind, Northshore, Middle Fork Cosumnes, Pardoes Point, South Shore, Sugar Pine Point, Stumpy Meadows, Ponderosa Cove Group, Hell Hole, Westpoint, Airport Flat, Camino Cove, Azalea Cove, Lone Rock, Bridal Veil, China Flat, Sand Flat, Capps Crossing, Silver Fork, Mokelumne, White Azalea, Pipi and Loon Lake. Campgrounds above 6,000 feet in elevation that are expected to open in mid to late June are Bear River Group, Caples Lake, Kirkwood Lake, and Silver Lake East. Woods Lake and Wrights Lake at over 7,000 feet in elevation will be the last to open most likely in late June to early July.
Black Oak Group campground and Big Meadows campground are closed until repairs from the King fire are completed later this summer. Sunset loops 1 and 2 (sites 1-61) are temporarily closed through mid-August due to nesting bald eagles which were found last week. After consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the closure was implemented to protect the eagles which are sensitive to disturbance. Disturbance of eagles is also prohibited in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The Union Valley Reservoir area has numerous campgrounds for campers. Wench Creek Campground is a great alternative to Sunset Campground and doesn’t require reservations. As recreation sites open for the season, updates are posted at . Reservations for many of our campgrounds, rental cabins, and overnight wilderness camping can be made at .
FIRE AND WILDERNESS PERMITS – Outside of hosted campgrounds, visitors must have a California Campfire Permit to have a campfire, charcoal barbecue, or use a gas stove or gas lantern.  The permit is your agreement to follow the campfire restrictions and regulations in effect. Remember that regulations governing campfires can change with weather conditions and the seasons. To protect yourself and the forest, before each visit, check with the Forest Service for current campfire restrictions. Smoking outside of an enclosed vehicle may be completely prohibited during times of high fire danger. Your campfire permit is valid from the date issued until the end of the calendar year; it may be used in any National Forest in California. California Campfire permits are available free of charge at our Ranger Stations.
Wilderness permits are required for the Desolation and Mokelumne Wilderness areas. Hikers and backpackers should be prepared to encounter snow in the high country. The Eldorado National Forest Interpretive Association (ENFIA) will be staffing the Carson Pass Information Station on Highway 88 Memorial Weekend to assist visitors with Mokelumne Wilderness permits and recreation information. They also staff the Pyramid Creek Trailhead on Highway 50 by Twin Bridges to provide recreation information for forest visitors.
ROAD CONDITIONS – Most of the roads on the Eldorado National Forest are open for vehicle travel. The higher elevation routes including the Mormon Emigrant Trail are still be blocked by snow drifts or wet from melting snow. Be cautious of downed trees where crews have not yet cleared the roadways. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available free of charge from any of our Ranger Stations or downloaded from our Forest website. Visitors should also watch out for logging trucks as there are several active timber sales on the forest.
HAZARD TREES – Visitors are urged to be extra aware of the trees around them due to the ongoing hazards of fire killed trees in the King Fire area and the hazards caused by drought and insect stricken dead or dying trees. Falling trees and branches are always a potential hazard when traveling or camping in a forest, but wildfire, insects and disease increase the risk. Be sure to consider the surrounding trees when parking a vehicle or deciding where to set up a tent. Leaning or dropped limbs are signs that trees may be weakened, and strong winds can weaken or blow down trees.
FISH ADVISORIES – The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently issued a fish advisory to provide safe eating advice for fish caught in Hell Hole Reservoir in the Georgetown Ranger District as well as the nearby French Meadows Reservoir in the Tahoe National Forest.  There is also a general statewide advisory for eating fish from California’s lakes and reservoirs.  Visitors who are fishing should be familiar with OEHHA’s safe eating guidelines.
TRIP PLANNING INFORMATION – Forest offices are open Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Amador and Pacific Ranger District offices and several information stations will also be open on weekend days. Georgetown Ranger Station on Wentworth Springs Road is open 7 days a week. Please visit our website for maps and visitor information.
Check out our brand new Interactive Visitor Map website at This is a great tool for trip planning. You can drill down to your area of interest and see the campgrounds, roads, and trails. Visitors can also download the free PDF Maps Mobile App, from to access geo-referenced digital Forest Service maps, such as motor-vehicle-use maps, which are free and forest visitor maps for $4.99.

About the author

Charlie REC magazine - Charlie Pankey ~ Publisher

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