May 12, 2017, Salmon, Idaho - Memorial Day weekend will soon be here and the weekend marks the beginning of the summer season for many outdoor enthusiasts. The Salmon-Challis National Forest welcomes visitors to “Know Before You Go” and learn about the travel conditions and numerous opportunities available for exploration on the Forest.
Many travel routes on the Forest are more accessible as spring moves towards summer. This year, many areas are experiencing high water. Damage to roadways and trails from the high water has been documented and it will be several weeks before peak flows occur. Use extra caution around eroded banks and roads. Floodwaters may undercut the road surface leaving an unstable area that can collapse without warning dropping people or vehicles into the water. Turn around when encountering flooded roads. It is unknown what is under the water and the road may be gone causing your vehicle to be swept downstream with the water flow. Drivers should continually be on the lookout for damaged roads. The Forest encourages extra caution for travel at night and during periods of low visibility. Damaged road surfaces may not be marked and can be very hard to identify in the dark.
It was a big snow year and some roads may not open as early as in years past. The Salmon Basin is 147% of normal snow water equivalent as of May 10. Wet and muddy conditions on roads and trails are still present in the higher elevations that have cleared in the Forest. Forest officials ask people to stay off muddy roads as not to damage them. In addition, please stay on designated routes. Motor Vehicle Use maps (MVUM) are available at the Public Lands Center in Salmon or the local Ranger District offices. MVUMs can also be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/2mvums. The MVUM maps show designated routes for motorized recreation users.
Forest visitors can select from almost 87 campgrounds with fishing, hiking, or other outdoor activities nearby. All Salmon-Challis National Forest campgrounds are available on a first-come-first served basis. Campgrounds may charge an overnight or day use fee where improved facilities and services are provided. Campgrounds that are open for the season can be found under the Recreation Conditions Report at the following location: http://bit.ly/2camptoday. Water may or may not be available. In addition, you may camp outside of developed campgrounds in most areas on the Salmon-Challis National Forest, up to 300 feet from an open road, at no charge. Potable water, toilets, and other amenities are not generally available. If you choose to camp outside developed areas, be sure to bring adequate water or be prepared to purify any water source before drinking.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest has experienced multiple large fires in the last ten years. There may be hazards associated with traveling adjacent to and entering into burned areas, so please use caution when entering these areas.
Due to current conditions, forest visitors must be prepared to stay longer than expected due to rapidly changing circumstances. Weather conditions such as high water, precipitation, and wind can rapidly change conditions on the ground. Wind can blow trees across roadways and high water and precipitation can wash debris across roadways blocking access or wash roadways out. Be sure to let someone know where you are headed and be prepared with extra food and clothing.
Invasive species are plants, animals, and microorganisms that are not native to a particular area. They are also species that are capable of causing severe damage in areas outside their normal range, harming the economy, the environment, or human health once they become established. Being aware of these pathways of spread can help us reduce the risk of accidentally moving harmful invasive species. By learning how to inspect and clean our belongings and knowing the source of the things we buy, we can begin to reduce the chance of inadvertently spreading something that could harm those things we cherish. More information can be found at: http://www.playcleango.org/.
Despite a cool and wet spring, please remember to fully extinguish all campfires.
For additional information, call the Public Lands Center in Salmon at 208-756-5100, or contact the local Ranger District offices. You are welcome to visit our website at: www.fs.usda.gov/main/scnf/home, ‘Like Us’ on www.facebook.com/salmonchallisnf, and ‘Follow Us’ on twitter.com/SalmonChallisNF.