Pinedale campgrounds opening Memorial Day weekend
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
May 20, 2009
The Pinedale Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest plans to open four campgrounds for the Memorial Day Weekend.
Fremont Lake Campground will be open with full service, including drinking water.
Narrows Campground (at New Fork Lake) will be open but drinking water will not be provided at this site in 2009 due to water system problems.
Half Moon Lake Campground and New Fork Campground will be open but no drinking water is provided at these two sites.
Although most campsites are managed on a first-come/first-served basis, some campsites within the Fremont and Narrows campgrounds may be reserved in advance by calling 1-877-444-6777.
Whiskey Grove Campground and Big Sandy Campground are scheduled to be open as soon as snow conditions allow, which will likely be early June. (Editor’s Note: As of this article, the road to Big Sandy was open as far as Dutch Joe.)
The upper loop of the Green River Lakes Campground is expected to be open by July 3, 2009.
Due to heavy bark beetle infestation, extensive hazard tree removal operations are necessary at several campgrounds and trailheads on the Pinedale Ranger District. Campgrounds and trailheads expected to have delayed openings or to be closed for the 2009 season are as follows:
• Elkhart Park/Trails End - Elkhart Park Trailhead and Trails End Campground are still snowbound and are expected to be accessible in early June. However, both of these sites are scheduled to be closed for tree removal operations. Elkhart Park Trailhead is expected to be partially closed through June, with the Long Lake Trailhead serving as a temporary backup for early Bridger Wilderness visitors to Elkhart Park. Trails End Campground is expected to be partially closed throughout June and July
• Green River Lakes - The lower loop of the Green River Lakes Campground is expected to be closed through July. Portions of the Green River Lakes Trailhead and Boat Launch Site parking areas will likely see partial, temporary closures throughout June and July. (Editor’s Note: As of this date, the road into Green River Lakes is open, but has a couple muddy spots and is rutted and washboarded. Union Pass Road is still not open through the top due to snow. At last check, couldn’t get to Fish Creek yet.)
• New Fork Group Site and Boulder Lake Campground - These two sites received extensive bark beetle infestation in 2008 and are expected to remain closed for the 2009 season. However, if tree removal operations are completed ahead of schedule, these sites may be opened in early August.
Although tree removal operations are designed to minimize impacts to developed sites, Forest visitors should expect to see signs of extensive tree falling operations at these sites for the next several years, including slash, tree stumps, skid trails, and open areas which previously contained dense overhead tree stands.
The remaining trailheads located on the Pinedale Ranger District are expected to be open to the public throughout the summer season when snow conditions allow access, including the Boulder Lake Trailhead, New Fork Lake Trailhead and Big Sandy Trailhead.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest, like most of the Intermountain West, has experienced widespread tree mortality due to bark beetle infestation. With a larger number of trees dead or dying due to heavy beetle infestation, Forest visitors should be cautious when camping or traveling within falling distance of dead trees, especially during high winds.