The Frazier Falls trailhead on June 7, flooded with water as snow continues to melt in the area. Photos submitted

Higher elevation Plumas National Forest recreation sites remain closed — Frenchman and Antelope lakes open

Even though Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer recreation season, conditions remain cooler and wetter than average, so several popular sites are still closed until recreation staff can access the sites to complete necessary work to be able to open.

Many recreation sites at Little Grass Valley Reservoir, Bucks Lake and Lakes Basin recreation areas are still inaccessible.

For those who can make the trip, Frazier Falls on the Beckwourth Ranger District is flowing fast this spring as snow melts.

“Forest Service crews, Outdoors in Plumas and PG&E are working diligently to gain access and perform the necessary maintenance to open recreation sites, including hazard tree removal, opening and testing of water systems and ensuring the campgrounds are safe,” said Plumas National Forest Recreation and Lands Program Manager Erika Brenzovich.

Estimated opening dates are still tentative and opening dates will depend on if there is damage from winter storms and snow loads.

Several sites are estimated to open as early as June 23, including Wyandotte, Tooms and Peninsula Tent campgrounds and Tooms Boat Launch in Little Grass Valley.  Horse Camp, Running Deer, Red Feather and Little Beaver campgrounds may not open until mid-July.

While Outdoors in Plumas is estimating June 23 for Gold Lake and Lakes Basin campgrounds and Gold Lake Boat Ramp, openings may be delayed until late June.  Both Outdoors in Plumas and PG&E have similar estimates of June 23 for Bucks Lake Campgrounds and Sandy Point, but there is a risk of the opening being delayed until later in June.

At Frenchman Lake and Antelope Lake recreation areas, all campgrounds are open and Lunker Point, Frenchman and Lost Cove boat docks are in the water.  At Lake Davis, all campgrounds are open and the Honker Cove boat dock is in the water.  Information on the status of the boat docks at Camp 5 and Lightning Tree is still pending, but the launches are open.

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.  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.

Additional road construction projects are coming soon near Milsap Bar Campground and in the Frenchman Lake Recreation Area.

A full closure of Milsap Bar is anticipated 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.

Frenchman Lake Recreation Area and campgrounds will remain open during road construction, but there may be detours or delays of up to 45 minutes for the ingress and egress of the campgrounds.

More information on these projects will be coming soon.

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, including the risk of thunderstorms.  Lakes and rivers are also exceptionally cold due to runoff from snowpack.  Visitors to the Forest, whether for a day trip or a camping trip, should bring plenty of layers and have dry clothing available.

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.

Even with cooler, wet weather, 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.

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