CLEARWATER TRIBUNE HOME
Nez Perce, Clearwater National Forests welcome 4th of July visitors
June 21 marked the first day
of summer; it’s time to celebrate! The sun is shining, the snow is melting and
many people are looking forward to recreating on the Nez Perce - Clearwater
National Forests over the long 4th of July weekend. So dust off your favorite
fishing rod, break out the camping equipment and top off the tank in your ATV.
The Forest Service would like to share road, trail and campground information to
help you plan your trip; some of
Dozens of campsites in several Forest Service campgrounds will be open for visitors. Most campgrounds offer first-come, first-served site selection, but a few campgrounds have sites that you can reserve. If you’d like to preselect a campsite, visit www.recreation.gov or call (877)444-6777 to locate campgrounds, nationwide, that accept reservations.
Many campgrounds have helpful hosts who can provide information about outdoor attractions in the local area.
Camping is allowed at sites outside developed campgrounds. If you camp at a dispersed site, leave no trace of your stay. Use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash.
Are you interested in reserving a campsite on the Nez Perce National Forest? Three options are O’Hara Campground, located seven miles east of Lowell along Selway River Road; Fish Creek Group Site, eight miles south of Grangeville past the Fish Creek Meadows Campground; South Fork Group Use Site #5 at the South Fork Campground located on Highway 14, east of Grangeville.
Campgrounds with good access and sites for RV campers include O’Hara, Fish Creek, South Fork, Castle Creek and Spring Bar.
Although crews continue to make progress clearing trails and roads, shady areas and high elevations still may have several feet of snow, making vehicle travel on some roadways tricky. Vehicles can break through snow’s crust and leave travelers stuck. Cell phone coverage may not be available to contact emergency responders so it’s best to avoid the temptation to plow on through in snowy areas; conditions could worsen the farther you go. Drive smart and stay safe.
On the Nez
Perce National Forest’s Moose Creek Ranger District, three major travel routes
remain closed by snow, including Road 486, the Magruder Road Corridor; Road 222;
Dixie Guard Station to Mackey Bar and Road 464,
Visitors are reminded that
there is a detour via
Landslides and washouts have
closed Indian Hill Road #290, Falls Point Road #443 and
Further south, on the Salmon
River Ranger District, Grangeville-Salmon Road, Road 221, is partially open from
Grangeville to two miles past Rocky Bluff Campground. Free Use Road 243 is open
to just past Twin Cabins Road 642; the road is closed one mile from
Trail conditions on the Moose Creek Ranger District can be described as “pretty good”, although hikers may run across standing water in spots, the upshot of a long, rainy spring.
Meadow Creek Trail, Trail 726, is impassable to stock due to slides at Reverse Creek.
On the Clearwater National Forest, most campgrounds offer first-come, first-served site selection, but a few campgrounds have sites that you can reserve; Wilderness Gateway, 49 miles east of Kooskia along U.S. Highway 12; Powell, 12 miles west of the Idaho-Montana state line along Highway 12; and Elk Creek, one mile north of Elk River. Call toll free at (877)444-6777, or reserve online at www.recreation.gov.
Campgrounds with good access and sites for RV campers include Powell, Wendover and Whitehouse (a few miles west of Powell), Wilderness Gateway and Elk Creek. Powell and Elk Creek also have several electrical hookup sites.
On the Powell Ranger District, Elk Summit Campground remains closed due to snow. The Jerry Johnson Campground is closed for the season.
Along the North Fork Clearwater River, the popular Aquarius, Washington Creek, Noe Creek and Kelly Forks Campgrounds are up and running and waiting for Independence Day visitors.
The Hidden Creek Campground and the Cedars Campground are also open and ready for happy, high-country campers.
The Weitas Creek Campground is
currently inaccessible due to the closure of the
On the Palouse Ranger
District, the Giant White Pine,
Kearstin Edwards, North Zone
Resource Specialist, invites people to attend an exciting line-up of interesting
and entertaining programs at
During the month of July, presentations will be held at the Kelly Forks Campground on the North Fork Clearwater River. Programs include hands-on opportunities for gold panning, wildlife identification, s’more building, movies and much more. The programs, which are free of charge, are appropriate for all ages. They will be held Saturday evenings starting July 2.
Program schedules are
available on the
Forest Service Road 250,
Road 255, which runs from the
Forest Road 500, the Lolo
Motorway, Road 581, Toboggan Ridge and Road 360, the
The popular Fish Lake Trail #419 is still blocked by lingering snow.
Forest Service offices and visitor centers
Most Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forests offices, with a few exceptions, will close on Monday, July 4 in observance of the 4th of July holiday. If you’re thinking of buying a firewood cutting permit, America the Beautiful Senior Pass (Golden Age Passport) or a national forest map for use over the holiday weekend, please be sure to stop by your nearest forest office prior to the close of business on Friday, July 1. We’ll be happy to help you!
The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, located 48 miles east of Kooskia along Highway 12, is open Wednesday through Monday, from to , through Labor Day. The LHRS will be open to welcome visitors on July 4.
Remember - be careful and be responsible with your cigarettes and campfires. Use existing fire rings if available. Make sure your campfire is completely out when you leave a campsite.
A polite reminder: fireworks are not allowed on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell would like to remind visitors and campers that the use of all fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices is prohibited on almost all national forests regardless of weather conditions or holidays. According to Jill Forth, Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer, regulations regarding fireworks are enforced. Violations are punishable as a misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $500.00, or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.
For additional information,
call the Nez Perce National Forest Headquarters in Grangeville at (208)983-1950
or the Clearwater National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Orofino at