Most Plumas National Forest recreation sites open for the season this weekend

This Father’s Day weekend, most of the recreation sites on the Plumas National Forest are now open for the summer recreation season, and the weather is looking great for a weekend making memories in the forest.

At Little Grass Valley Reservoir near La Porte on the Feather River Ranger District, recreation sites on the Wyandotte peninsula are now open, as well as Black Rock and Horse Camp campgrounds.

Red Feather, Little Beaver and Running Deer remain closed, but are expected to be open by July 4.

On the Mount Hough Ranger District, all campgrounds at Bucks Lake are now open, with the exception of Hutchins Group Camp.  There is not an estimated date for the group camp to open for the season.

Also, there is no water at Sundew Campground, but campers can fill up at Haskins or Sandy Point.

PG&E will be closing Caribou Road on June 17 to complete road repairs. It will not affect access to campgrounds from California Highway 70. But there will not be access to the North Fork Fishing Trail from the campgrounds and those trying to come from Butt Lake down Forest Road 27N26 to Highway 70 will not be able to get through.

On the Beckwourth Ranger District, the sites at Lakes Basin Recreation Area are open this weekend. As a reminder, Gold Lake Campground is now first come, first served, and Gold Lake 4×4 Camp is now requiring reservations at least three days in advance on Recreation.gov.

Reservations for Gold Lake 4×4 Camp can be made up to 30 days in advance online or by calling (877) 444-6777. The reservation phone number is staffed daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Recreation.gov charges an $8 service charge for online reservations, $9 for phone reservations. Service charges are also applied for cancellations, so visitors are asked to be sure of their plans.

Visitors to Gold Lake 4×4 Camp are also expected to be responsible for human waste disposal when recreating at this site, bringing and using approved systems. This includes waste kits and Waste Alleviation and Gelling bags that contain a drying agent, can be sealed and disposed of in a dumpster or trash at home.  These systems can be purchased at a variety outdoor stores and online.

While sites across the Forest are open, Royal Elk Park Management is continuing to work on repairs and facilities maintenance needs that would normally be completed before opening. This includes work on damaged boat docks.

“The staff at Royal Elk Park Management were delayed in starting the process of opening the recreation sites they are managing and have accomplished a tremendous amount of work since starting operations in late April,” said Acting Public Services Staff Officer Erika Brenzovich. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as they keep making progress on repairs and maintenance issues.”

Despite recent hot weather, there is still receding snowpack in the mountains and water temperatures in area lakes and rivers are still extremely cold. With cooler temperatures this weekend, it increases the risk of hypothermia if too much time is spent in the water. Visitors are asked to use caution.

Hot weather in recent weeks has continued to dry fuels and there have been reports of a few small wildfires this season. The Plumas National Forest is still not meeting the metrics to go into fire restrictions, but area residents and visitors are asked to use caution with anything that can spark a wildfire.

Campfires should never be left unattended and should be dead-out and cold to the touch before leaving. Trailer chains should be secured so that they are not dragging on the pavement and tires should be properly inflated. Spark arresters should be functioning properly on motorized equipment, including off-highway vehicles, generators and chainsaws.

“It’s early in the season, but we are already seeing fuel conditions that can carry wildfire and rapid changes in weather and temperature can cause increased strong and erratic winds,” said Plumas National Forest Assistant Forest Fire Management Officer Mitch Wilson. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and vigilance in being careful and preventing human-caused wildfires.”

Early season weather can be widely varied, ranging from warm and sunny during the day to cold at night. Late spring and early summer storms can come on suddenly. Being prepared with layered clothing, plenty of food and water, good footwear and the right gear is highly recommended.

It’s always good for any forest adventure to make sure in addition to the right supplies that you let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back and start with a full tank of gas.

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