Some Plumas National Forest recreation sites opening Memorial Day weekend; others closed due to snow
Several popular recreation sites on the Plumas National Forest are scheduled to open today in time for Memorial Day weekend. However, area residents and visitors planning to recreate in the forest this weekend should still be prepared for snow and some closed sites.
Lake Davis, Frenchman and Antelope, Sly Creek Reservoir recreation areas, as well as Spanish Creek, Hallsted and Strawberry campgrounds will open today, May 25.
Lakes Basin, Bucks Lake, Little Grass Valley and other high altitude recreation sites will have later opening dates due to lingering snowpack. High altitude trails, including around Lakes Basin and along the Pacific Crest Trail near Bucks Lake and La Porte, are also heavily affected by snow.
In the Feather River Canyon, Queen Lily, North Fork and Gansner Bar campgrounds are closed due to slides along California Highway 70. Hallsted Campground is opening this weekend and is accessible on Highway 70 from Quincy, but access is affected by the slides west of the campground. Please check CalTrans for the latest highway closure information.
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. For Memorial Day weekend, the road will be open Monday and will close again at 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 30.
Campers and other recreational users should plan on bringing plenty of water and be prepared for changing weather conditions.
“Water systems are still being turned on and water testing is still ongoing at many sites,” said Plumas National Forest Recreation and Lands Program Manager Erika Brenzovich. “It is better to be prepared with plenty of drinking water until we can confirm water availability.”
At Sly Creek Reservoir Recreation Area and Strawberry Campground, visitors should bring all the water they will need, as the water systems at these sites have been confirmed that they 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.
Outdoors in Plumas will be managing most of the sites they operated last season. Five sites, including Mill Creek and Sundew campgrounds, are shifting to Pacific Gas and Electric management. The Forest Service will be managing 12 sites, including Golden Trout, Meadow Camp and Greenville campgrounds.
The Outdoors in Plumas website is once again live and has season information for the sites they are managing. For more information on Outdoors in Plumas, visitoutdoorsinplumas.com.
The pricing list on their website has not been updated for the 2023 season. Visitors should expect increases in rates at some sites.
“It’s been observed by our recreation managers that operating costs are increasing due to inflation, higher fuel costs, trash collection, toilet pumping, labor, supplies and other factors,” Brenzovich said. “While the Forest Service managed sites are remaining at the same rates, several of our concessionaire managed sites are having a small increase.”
Road conditions remain challenging and may be hazardous as snow continues to melt and create more runoff than usual. The public is reminded that creating damage to Forest Service roads and trails not only takes time and costly resources to repair but is also illegal. If you can see your tires leaving any type of rut in the road, please safely turn around and return once the ground has dried enough to prevent further damage.
Drivers should watch for damaged roads and culverts, avoid continuing to travel in these areas, and report the damage to the local ranger district office or Forest Supervisor’s Office. Photos and location coordinates are also appreciated.
“We want everyone to have a safe, enjoyable and memorable Memorial Day weekend, whether it is at home or out enjoying the Plumas National Forest,” said Plumas National Forest Supervisor Chris Carlton. “We are happy that we are able to provide recreation opportunities this weekend following a challenging winter and look forward to having more sites accessible in the coming weeks.”
For more information on the Plumas National Forest, visit fs.usda.gov/plumas or on Facebook at facebook.com/USFSPlumas.