HAMILTON – The Bitterroot National Forest ready to welcome visitors for the July 4th holiday but there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning a visit.
It should be noted that fireworks are not allowed on national forest lands and the current fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest is listed at moderate.
- Fireworks are not permitted on all National Forests year-round. No fireworks of any kind may be discharged anywhere within the Bitterroot National Forest, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or six months in jail. Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs which can be substantial.
- All campgrounds on the Forest are open and ready for visitors. Campgrounds fill up quickly. Click here for a complete list of campgrounds.
- Campgrounds must be occupied the first night. Most campgrounds are first come, first served. Sites must be occupied the first night; no setting out chairs or coolers days before actually occupying the campsite.
- Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure your coals are cool to the touch before you leave. Forecasts are for a warm and dry 4th of July and visitors need to be fire safe. One spark is all it takes to start a wildfire.
- Be prepared for changing weather conditions including the potential for afternoon thunderstorms.
- Be cautious around flowing waters and especially at creek crossings.
- Expect heavier traffic than normal on forest roads and trails over the holiday. Drive defensively and notify forest officials of any downed trees or road damage so repairs can be made. Some trails and roads may not be open at higher elevations due to snow, high water, washouts, or trees that have fallen. Also, stay on the trails and roads and do not create new trails to get around hazards.
- Pack it In–Pack it Out is the best practice for all of your garbage.
The gate at Lost Horse Road #429 on the Darby/Sula Ranger District is open but please be advised that the road is rough and is not recommended for trailers or low clearance vehicles. Schumaker Campground and Bear Creek Pass are open.
The Magruder Road Corridor between Darby and Elk City, Idaho is closed one mile past Observation Point due to snow. Nez Perce Pass is open to Paradise Campground. Contact the West Fork Ranger District for road updates. Magruder Road is suitable for high-clearance vehicles only. Travelers are advised to carry a chainsaw in case of a fallen tree on the road and should be aware that there is no cell phone coverage or services for 120 miles.
A reminder for those heading to Lake Como, you will need a recreation pass for parking. Cost of the passes are $5 per vehicle or $30 for a season pass and are available at all Forest Service offices, area retailers including Mr. T’s and People’s Market in Darby, Angler’s Roost, Lone Pine and Riverside Conoco, Town Pump South, and Bob Ward’s in Hamilton, and on-site at the recreation area.
There have been recent reports of bear activity at several campgrounds. With the arrival of summer, remember that bears and other critters are out and about and it’s important to secure all unattended food and attractants and keep a clean camp at all times. Keep tents and sleeping bags free of odors, avoid cooking smelly foods and don’t sleep in the same clothes you wore while cooking. Click here for more information about recreating safely in bear country.