Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests welcome Labor Day visitors

Despite the recent rash of wildfires, Labor Day visitors to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests can still find plenty of safe, smoke-free places to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities.

Fire danger is still very high, and there are a few road and trail closures due to active wildfires. Other roads may be closed because of ongoing construction.

For current fire information and a list of closures please visit the Forests’ website,, or log on to

You’re also invited to call your local Forest Service office for updates on road, trail and campground conditions.

All offices will close Sept. 1 in observance of Labor Day. Offices will resume normal business hours on Sept. 2.

There are currently no campfire restrictions on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests; however, due to tinder-dry brush and timber and the potential for a fast-moving blaze, forest users are urged to use common sense and extreme care when building campfires. Never, ever leave a campfire unattended!

Highway 14 / South Fork Clearwater River Corridor

Visitors to the Red River Ranger District are reminded that there is a detour at the junction of Highway 14 and Red River Road (#222) for a culvert installation. A one-lane bridge is in place to allow all traffic around the construction.

All campgrounds are open and available for use, with Red River Campground being the only one with potable water and the only fee campground ($6/night) on the district.

Water at Granite Springs Campground should be boiled before drinking. Potable water is also available at the Red River Administrative Site at the junction of Roads 222 and 234.

Officials are assessing the current fire situation which has resulted in an area closure of much of the district south of the Magruder Road Corridor (Forest Road 468) in the hope of revoking the closure order before Labor Day.

A copy of the rescission of that closure will be posted at when it is signed, or call the Red River Ranger Station at 208-842-2245 for the latest information.

Selway River Corridor

The Selway River Road is open. Johnson Bar and O’Hara Bar Campgrounds on the Moose Creek Ranger District remain closed due to the Johnson Bar Fire. Campgrounds up river from O’Hara Campground are open. Roads 651 and 470 remain closed. Falls Point Road 443 and Indian Hill Road 290 remain closed to vehicles over 50 inches.

Highway 95/Salmon River Corridor

The South Fork/ Castle Creek Campground on the South Fork of the Clearwater River has potable water, dumpsters and a camp host. Fish Creek Campground located seven miles south of Grangeville has potable water and a camp host. Spring Bar Campground located on the Main Salmon River has potable water and dumpsters.

Palouse Corridor

The Elk Creek Campground, located one mile east of Elk River, includes sites that have electrical hookups. Laird Park Campground and Little Boulder Campground offer both campsites and group picnic areas (call the ranger station to reserve the group picnic sites).

There are also campsites at Giant White Pine Campground north of Harvard. Giant White Pine Campground will close for the season on Sept. 8; Laird Park will close a few days later, on Sept. 22. Little Boulder and Elk Creek campgrounds will stay open through Oct. 31.

Due to winter shutdown, no water will be available as of Sept. 30. Bald Mountain Lookout will close Sept. 28.

North Fork Clearwater River Corridor

On the North Fork Ranger District, the Aquarius, Washington Creek, Noe Creek, Kelly Forks and Hidden Creek Campgrounds are open. There is no garbage collection at these sites, so please remember to pack-it-in/pack-it-out.

All North Fork campgrounds are scheduled to remain open through Oct. 31 and fees will be charged until the campgrounds close for the winter. Effective Sept. 16, potable water will no longer be available at Aquarius Campground.

The water at Washington Creek, Hidden Creek, Kelly Forks and Noe Creek Campgrounds will be turned off on Sept. 29. Due to ongoing logging activity, Mush Saddle Road 711 and Cool Creek Road 5295 will remain closed through Labor Day.

Highway 12 Corridor

Apgar, Wendover and Whitehouse Campgrounds are open, but all three campgrounds are slated to close Sept. 3. At the popular Wilderness Gateway Campground, Camp Loops A and D will close Sept. 3, and Loops B and C will be up and running until Nov. 3. Powell Campground will also close Nov. 3. Wild Goose Campground is currently closed due to fire activity in the area.

The Elk Summit Campground and White Sands Campground will remain open as long as weather permits. Water service to campgrounds along the Highway 12 Corridor will shut down at different intervals right after Labor Day. If camping after Labor Day, please be prepared to camp without water.

The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station (49 miles east of Kooskia) will close on September 9. Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center near the Idaho-Montana state is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (PST) daily through Aug. 31. Beginning Sept. 1, the Visitor Center will be closed on Tuesdays.

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