LAKEVIEW, OR — Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the start of the summer recreation season. For those looking for an adventure on the Fremont-Winema National Forest this weekend, they are encouraged to be prepared for varied and changing conditions and take measures to have a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Current conditions are widely varied. Overall, the Forest is drier than average for this time of year. Recent storms brought significant rain and snowfall over the east side of the Forest, while the west side of the Forest remained dry. This pattern is atypical for the area – usually the west side gets more precipitation.
Throughout the Forest there is still snow on north-facing slopes. Drivers need to be aware that they may encounter snow drifts, icy or muddy conditions on all roads, but especially those on the northern sides of mountains and in shaded areas.
These areas increase the risk of getting stuck, as well as potentially damaging roads. If tread tracks are visible in the rearview mirror or if there are increased drifts in the road, drivers are asked to park and walk or turn around and find another area to visit.
Access issues continue to be a challenge as Forest Recreation Staff works to reopen recreation sites on the Forest. While many have been opened already, a few remain closed due to snow and wet weather. Please check with the local Ranger District to check current conditions before heading out.
Additionally, hazard tree removal is affecting some sites. Fourmile Campground on the Klamath Ranger District will be closed for the 2021 season due to a large amount of dead and dying trees in the area, especially along roads and in the campground. Forest managers will be working with contractors and fire managers to remove the hazard trees, reduce the fuel load and restore forest health.
On the Paisley Ranger District, Happy Camp Campground will be closed June 7 through 11 for hazard tree removal activities.
“We want everyone to have a safe, happy and healthy Memorial Day weekend and recreation season this year,” said Forest Recreation Program Manager Scott Stoffel. “Our employees in recreation, fire and other resources are working hard to get things open and reduce hazard trees and other risks at our recreation sites as conditions allow. The public’s patience as we do this work and preparedness when visiting the Forest is greatly appreciated. If your favorite site is closed, this is a great opportunity to explore other parts of the Forest!”
Early season weather can be widely varied, ranging from warm and sunny during the day to cold at night. Late spring storms can come on suddenly. Being prepared with layered clothing, plenty of food and water, good footwear and the right gear is highly recommended.
It’s always good for any forest adventure to make sure in addition to the right supplies that you let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back and start with a full tank of gas.