White River National Forest Service urges campers to research
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Memorial Day typically marks the beginning of the camping season across the state. It’s an especially busy time for the White River National Forest.”Most of our camping sites open on Memorial Day weekend. Some spots open before then but we have a few that we open earlier,” said WRNF visitor information specialist at the Sopris Ranger District in Carbondale, Janet Rothe.With a wide selection of developed campgrounds and even more dispersed sites, sites that are undeveloped campgrounds throughout the WRNF with no fees. But Rothe expects the high snowpack level will impact those wanting to do the early season backcountry trip this year, at least in the high country.”We’ve got so much snow, especially around Aspen, it’s probably going to postpone the backcountry trips,” Rothe said. “It’s going to be a later season for those folks.”Rothe advises that those wanting to camp in undeveloped or dispersed campgrounds in the WRNF contact the forest service for information on road closures and fire restrictions. She said that several of the access roads remain closed due to snow and muddy conditions and couldn’t specify a date for them to open. During the early spring and late fall, Rothe said muddy roads and torn up vegetation by visitors are some of the forest service’s main concerns each year.”Be cautious of muddy roads,” Rothe said. “Even if the gates are open if the road is muddy it can easily get torn up and hurt vegetation.”
The best advice Rothe gave on the issue is for visitors, local or from abroad, is to purchase a WRNF map. The map will cost about $10 at several local outdoor shops or the WRNF with marked trails and roads within the forest’s boundaries.”The WRNF map is important to know,” Rothe said.Rothe added that the maps are a little outdated and campers should still check with a public information person with the forest service, or visit the WRNF’s website for updates and important information. The website is a good place to check for fire restrictions and site availability.”The website has a lot of useful information on it,” Rothe said. “And they can make reservations for a lot of our campgrounds as well.”Some of the campgrounds within the WRNF require reservations and some are first come first serve. Information for all the developed campgrounds can be found on the WRNF website.”On a holiday, like Memorial Day, we recommend reservations,” Rothe said.It’s also a good idea to check on fire restrictions prior to leaving, but there should be information posted at developed campsites warning campers of any dangers. Rothe expects fire restrictions to be in effect this year, but she couldn’t say when they would take effect.”We may have restrictions early this year,” Rothe said. “It’s all going to vary, so it’s best to check with the local ranger district.”
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Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.