Snow too deep to open most Eldorado Forest campgrounds
Most Eldorado National Forest campgrounds remain snow covered and will not be open for this holiday weekend, according to Forest Service officials. Campgrounds that will be open include: West Point campground on Union Valley Reservoir; Stumpy Meadows, Black Oak campgrounds and the boat ramp on Stumpy Meadows Reservoir; Middle Meadows group campground and Hell Hole campground, but without water; Sand Flat campground, Bridal Veil picnic area, the parking lot at Twin Bridges/Pyramid Creek trailhead off Highway 50; Mokelumne and White Azalea campgrounds off of Tiger Creek road, and Pipi Campground off Highway 88. Loon Lake, Caples Lake, and Silver Lake are still partially frozen and have deep snow packs. The Ice House and Union Valley areas still have a significant blanket of snow and have just started melting.
“It has been a very wet and snowy winter and spring,” says Acting Forest Supervisor Tony Valdes. “Access to the facilities and public safety are two of our primary concerns. In the few facilities that are accessible, crews are working hard to remove fallen trees, fix broken water systems, and eliminate recreation area safety issues.”
Visitors planning to camp outside of developed campgrounds should be aware that that there is very little dry ground in the popular camping areas and many of these areas are still under snow.
“Forest roads and trails may also have wet conditions and the mid to high elevation routes of the National Forest are still covered with snow and will not be passable until the snow melts; including the Mormon Emigrant Trail,” says Duane Nelson, Placerville District Ranger. “Although the seasonal dirt road and trail closure has been lifted, many routes may still be muddy and should not be driven on.” Persons damaging roadbeds may receive citations.
Visitors must park their vehicle on the side of a designated road or within a reasonable distance of the route so as not to block the roadway, create a safety hazard, or damage vegetation. Visitors can also obtain a free map of the designated roads and trails for vehicle travel at all Eldorado National Forest offices.
2011 campfire permits are required in order to use wood, charcoal, or gas fires on national forest land outside of designated, developed campgrounds. Campfire permits can be obtained free-of-charge at any U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Forestry, or Bureau of Land Management office.
Wilderness permits are required year-round for overnight camping in both Desolation and Mokelumne Wilderness areas. The wilderness areas and trails still have a large amount of snow and the streams are running at high volume, due to the snow melt. The Forest Service recommends that visitors do not attempt to cross swollen streams and that they use caution when traveling along the stream banks.
Visitors can obtain information and permits from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at Forest Service offices this summer. The Pacific Ranger Station just past Pollock Pines and the Georgetown Ranger Station offices are open seven days a week. The Placerville Ranger Station office in Camino (exit 54) is open Monday through Friday. The Amador Ranger Station office in Pioneer is open Monday through Saturday. The Pacific Ranger Station, four miles east of Pollock Pines, is the only Eldorado National Forest office that issues Desolation Wilderness overnight permits. On Memorial weekend, information and fire permits will also be available at the Crystal and Cleveland Corral information stations located on Ice House road.
For additional recreation information on campground and road conditions visit the Eldorado National Forest website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado.