Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Celebrating Fourth of July on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests
Fourth of July is a favorite time for Americans to visit their National Forests. The following information will help you plan your visit to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.
Please be advised that all Forest Service offices on the Nez Perce-Clearwater will be closed on Tuesday, July 4. Offices will be open on Monday, July 3 for you to purchase a firewood permit, obtain a mushroom permit, acquire forest maps, or to answer any questions you may have before the holiday.
Please remember that fireworks are prohibited on National Forests. There are no fire restrictions at this time, but recreationists are reminded to use caution with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark. Never leave campfires unattended.
Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave; pour water and add dirt to your campfire until it is cold. One spark is all it takes to start a wildfire that could burn thousands of acres of our National Forests, impacting its wildlife, recreation opportunities, and beautiful landscapes.
Report all fires to 911 or the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center: (208) 983-6800.
Dozens of campsites in several Forest Service campgrounds will be open for visitors during the holiday. Many campgrounds have helpful hosts who can provide information about outdoor recreation in the local area. Camping is also allowed at sites outside of developed campgrounds, known as “dispersed sites.” If you camp at a dispersed site, leave no trace of your stay; use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash.
Most campgrounds offer first-come, first-served site selection, but a few campgrounds have sites that you can reserve. To reserve a campsite, call toll free at (877) 444-6777 or reserve online at www.Recreation.gov.
A stay at the Adams Ranger Station cabin, located near Grangeville, is a great alternative to camping. The fee is $50 per night with a minimum of two nights’ stay on weekends. To make a reservation, visit the Adams Ranger Station information page at www.Recreation.gov, or call (877) 444-6777.
Many forest trails are accessible at this time, but visitors should be prepared to encounter high creek crossings, downed trees, rocks, and debris. Always travel with care. Check with your local ranger station for a complete list of trails that have been cleared to date. Stay safe and protect sensitive plant life by staying on designated trails. Always yield to stock.
Palouse Ranger District
Giant White Pine, Laird Park, and Little Boulder campgrounds are great places to spend the holiday weekend. Please be advised that Laird Park does not currently have potable water available. Elk Creek Campground, one mile north of Elk River, accepts reservations and boasts good RV access as well as electrical hookup sites. The Palouse District also has three picnic sites that can be reserved for your fun-filled Fourth of July get-together.
Portions of the Palouse Divide road #377 are closed due to logging activity and a landslide. Alternative routes are available to popular areas such as Bald Mountain Lookout.
North Fork Ranger District
Aquarius, Washington Creek, Weitas Creek, and Noe Creek campgrounds are currently open for visitors to enjoy. Noe Creek Campground does not have potable water at this time; visitors should plan to bring their own drinking water.
French Mountain road #250 is open to the Kelly Creek trailhead. Several roads on the North Fork Ranger District have been closed to protect public safety due to road failures caused by spring conditions. This includes a portion of Deception Saddle road #255 between its junctions with road #250 and Osier Cut Off road #735. Please use caution when travelling forest roads, as additional road failures may develop as thawing conditions continue in the high country.
Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
Two campsites on the Lochsa/Powell Ranger District – Wilderness Gateway and Powell - accept reservations. Wilderness Gateway, Powell, Wendover, and Whitehouse campgrounds all have good access for RVs. Powell Campground offers electrical hookup sites. All of these campgrounds are located along Highway 12.
The Lolo Pass Visitor Center and Lochsa Historical Ranger Station will be open on July 4 to welcome visitors, so make sure to stop by for a visit! The Lolo Pass Visitor Center, located on Highway 12 at the Idaho-Montana state line, is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PDT). The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, located 48 miles east of Kooskia on Highway 12, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saddle Camp road #107 is closed at its junction with Highway 12 at the bridge to Grave Creek due to road re-construction, which may impact those travelling to the area for the holiday. Snow persists on the Lolo Motorway, making it inaccessible to through traffic. Snow, mud, and runoff persisting on many roads limits access elsewhere on the district. Visitors may encounter downed trees and debris, making travel difficult. Motorists are encouraged to pack chains for the front and back of vehicles, as well as a chainsaw.
Moose Creek Ranger District
O’Hara Campground, located seven miles east of Lowell along Selway River road #223, accepts reservations and has good access for RV campers.
Landslides have impacted several roads on the Moose Creek Ranger District. O’Hara road #651 is closed from the junction with Trailhead #713 to its junction with road #1129. Falls Point road #443 is closed at milepost 24 to its junction with Selway River road #223. Swiftwater road #470 is closed beginning at the Swiftwater Bridge to its junction with road #470A. Fog Mountain road #319 is closed to vehicles greater than 50” wide.
Salmon River Ranger District
Two campsites on the Salmon River Ranger District accept reservations: the Fish Creek group site, and the South Fork group use site #5. Fish Creek, South Fork, and Castle Creek campgrounds have good RV access. All of these campgrounds are located along Highway 14.
While many roads on the Salmon River Ranger District are open, visitors should be advised that road closures are in effect in some places due to log hauling. This includes Slate Creek road #354, which is closed on weekdays (including July 4) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The road is open on weekends. Visitors travelling in the area should be aware of increased log truck traffic; travel with care.
Red River Ranger District
The popular Magruder Corridor road #468 is open until its junction with Green Mountain road #285. However, snow persists farther along the route, making it inaccessible for through travel. Travelers on Idaho County road #233 on the Crooked River Corridor should expect to encounter forest personnel and heavy truck traffic along the road due to ongoing projects in the area. The road is narrow with limited opportunities to turn around.
Visitors are urged to use extreme caution when travelling in this area. Road #464 is currently closed on weekdays (including July 4) from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. due to log hauling. Please note that Crooked River Campground #3 is temporarily closed.
Visit the forest website or contact your local ranger station for more information about the area you are interested in before you begin your trip. Trail conditions are found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/home/?cid=fseprd506117.
The Alerts & Notices page (https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices) contains lots of important information, including road condition reports. Contact information for local ranger stations can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/about-forest/offices.
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests would like to wish everyone an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July.