Green River Lakes Road is open!
The campground is expected to open around June 15th with services (water, garbage). Note that there are no showers, power or phones at this campground. Also, cell phone reception is marginal to unavailable in the campground.
Decks of logs should be removed soon.
Mountain Pine Beetle
Mountain Pine Beetles have killed many of the trees in the Green River Lakes Campground area.
Logging in the campground
Logs are decked near the main road and there are still slash piles and debris in the campground area.
The trailhead parking area and trails around the lake are open.
Campground temporarily closed for tree removal
May 21, 2006
What a difference two weeks makes! We checked out the Green River Lakes road on Saturday and it is now open all the way to the end.
* Road in is graded and in good condition.
* Side roads are dry and there are many paces for dispersed camping.
* Green River Lakes trailhead and lake access areas are open.
* Green River Lakes campground closed until June 15th.
* Overnight parking allowed only in trailhead parking area right now.
* Expect to encounter logging activity on the road as loggers finish up last year's tree removal timber sale.
* When the campground opens, fee will be $12/night, with a stay limit of 10 days. Group area can be reserved through Reserve USA. Other campsites are first-come, first-serve.
* Mosquitos are starting to come out.
The trail access to the wilderness is open and free of snow for quite a long ways. We ran into Dave Bell coming out from a long hike, and he commented that he went nine miles in on the Green River Lakes trail and didnít run into any snow. The warm temperatures last week made a big dent in melting a lot of the snow at the lower elevations between 7000 to 9000 feet.
Logging operations in the campground
The Green River Lakes Campground is currently closed and the road into the camping area gated closed while tree removal operations are in effect. The Forest Service expects the logging debris to be cleaned up and log decks removed and the campground reopened by about June 15th.
When the campground opens, there will be water and garbage services, and a fee will be charged for overnight stays. The campground area is closed for public safety reasons until the logging debris is removed.
Many of the trees in the Green River Lakes campground area have been infested with Mountain Pine Beetle, which have killed a lot of the trees. This is a problem the Forest Service has been dealing with in the campground area for several years now, with chemical spray treatments, pheremone deterrants and now logging to remove dead and infected trees.
The logging has opened up a lot of the stand in the campground area, and some of the camp spots now have nice views of the lake and Square Top Mountain. Once the tree removal is all done, we think folks will like the more open views. There still is plenty of privacy between camp spots with many full 8-10 foot young trees coming up to replace the mature trees that have been taken out.
The Forest Service is trying to keep as many trees as possible in the campground, but it looks to us to be somewhat of a lost cause. Many of the remaining trees are whippy lodgepole pine that just donít have the trunk strength to withstand much wind without the protection of the other trees around them. We suspect it wonít be long before many of the Ďleaveí trees will also be coming down, either by wind throw or just determined to be a safety hazard with a bit more time.
Many of the trees in the adjacent mountain stands look to be standing dead as well, making fire something to watch for this summer if things really dry out. (If you have plans to camp at Green River Lakes later this summer, keep tabs on the fire conditions as the summer progresses to see the status of the trailhead access, campground and any fire restrictions.)
The Forest Service has posted phermone packets on the standing trees to discourage beetles from infesting the remaining live trees, which should help some, but won't be a cure-all for this extensive bug kill infestation. Campers will see similar packets at Whiskey Grove, Fremont Lake and Boulder Lake campgrounds in attempts to ward off Mountain Pine and Douglas Fir beetle infestations. (Please tell the kids not to pull those off the trees. They are doing an important job of producing chemicals to keep beetles from infesting those trees.)
Roads and Access
The road through the campground to the boat launch access is open and accessible. No overnight camping is allowed in the boat launch parking area. The road into the campground is currently gated off and signed as Ďclosed for the seasoní, so at present there is no camping allowed in Green River Lakes campground. All overnight parking is being directed to the trailhead parking lot. There are plenty of dispersed camping areas all along the entire Green River Lakes road. If you come prepared with your own drinking water so you can dry camp, the campground closure won't stop you from camping in the area.
River running high
The Green River is running pretty high and muddy with the spring run-off flows. The fishermen we talked with said they werenít having much luck getting bites in either the river or the lake, but it really didnít matter. The scenery is beautiful and itís a gorgeous place to be, whether out in a boat or fishing from the bank.
Whiskey Grove Campground
Whiskey Grove Campground road is free of snow and all the camp spots are accessible. The Green River is flowing extremely high, deep and fast past the campground, but not overflowing the banks. We do not recommend this campground for families with small children due to the close proximity of all the campsites to the river and the high, fast flows of the water at this time.
Union Pass Road
The Union Pass road has opened up as far as the eye can see from the Green River Lakes road. We didnít drive it to see how far the road is open this trip, but judging from snow still visible up on the side hills, weíre fairly certain you donít have to go too far to run into snow, and itís not open all the way to the top or over to the Dubois side yet.
Photos by Clint Gilchrist and Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!