White River National Forest campgrounds now open for the season | PostIndependent.com

White River National Forest campgrounds now open for the season

Staff report

Many White River National Forest campgrounds are opening for the season this weekend, which means more people in the woods interacting with each other and with wildlife.

"The Forest Service would like to remind visitors to be responsible when visiting the forest by demonstrating camping etiquette, adhering to forest regulations, being bear aware, and practicing 'Leave No Trace' principles," Forest Service officials advise.

Although many White River National Forest campgrounds opened Friday, some open later in the season depending on weather and conditions.

For a complete list of campgrounds on the forest, opening and closing dates, and reservation fees, visit http://bit.ly/WRNF2018Camping.

"Campers are asked to observe general camping etiquette including following all posted rules in campgrounds, respecting quiet hours, and leaving campsites clean for the next visitor," according to news release from the WRNF Supervisor's Office.

In the coming weeks, seasonal trail and wilderness crews will again be out and active on the forest clearing trails and beginning to work on summer projects. Visitors can expect to encounter crews working in the vicinity of where they are recreating.

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"If you come across a downed tree or other issues on a trail, campground or overlook, report it to your local ranger station."

To prevent bear and other wildlife encounters, campers and other forest users should adhere to food storage rules.

The White River National Forest has mandatory food storage orders for all visitors to decrease the likelihood of bear-human conflicts. All food must be stored in a bear-resistant manner by using a food locker in campgrounds, approved containers or inside a vehicle in a sealed container.

All food and attractants must be stored where bears can't access them at night and during the daytime when unattended.

"If a bear becomes habituated to receiving food in a campground or recreation area and becomes a threat to humans, it may be euthanized," the Forest Service advises.

The following guidelines are highly recommended:

• Keep food, cooking items, and other attractants such as scented toiletries like toothpaste or sunscreen in food lockers, inside a hard-sided vehicle, or in IGBC approved bear-resistant container.

• Do not store food or toiletries that have odors inside tents.

• Do not leave trash around camp. Deposit it in dumpsters provided, or double bag it and put it in a hard-sided vehicle.

• Keep your fire ring clean; burn only paper and wood. Do not put food scraps, liquids, glass or metal in the ring.

The Forest Service works in close coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on bear management issues. For information on approved bear resistant products, visit: http://igbconline.org/bear-resistant-products/.