Summer season starts in the Sierra
Visitors to the area took advantage of the three-day Memorial Day weekend that marks the unofficial opening of the summer recreation season, filling many of the campgrounds to take advantage of the spring runoff filling lakes and streams throughout the Tahoe National Forest and surrounding area.
United States Forest Service officials reported that most boat ramps, campgrounds and other recreational areas were open in time for the weekend and most of their campgrounds were full.
Some areas were, however, still inaccessible due to snow.
Officials were also quick to remind people about the devastation caused last year by illegal campfires.
Such fires caused both the14,000-acre Martis Fire just east of Truckee and the 2,000-acre Gap Fire south of Nyack.
“Last year, abandoned campfires were the cause of both the Martis and Gap fires which burned about 16,000 acres. We all need to do our part to make sure the National Forests stay green and healthy,” said Tahoe National Forest Supervisor Steve Eubanks.
Still, some have not gotten the message.
“We have already had an abandon campfire this year,” said Debby Broback of the USFS office in Truckee. “We want to remind people, campfire safety is critical, even this time of year.”
Broback said campground supervisors reported that forest service facilities were busy all weekend.
Donner Memorial State Park, however, had plenty of room, as roughly half of the park’s 150 sites were vacant.
“We were pretty slow, and we only had 107 sites open,” said Park Superintendent Marilyn Murphy.
Paco Lindsay, owner of Paco’s Truckee Bike and Ski, said the varying number of campers, hikers and bikers is normal for Memorial Day.
“We had a lot of phone calls last week from people wanting to know about the trails. But it wasn’t real busy. Memorial Day is never anything to get excited about. It’s not a slow weekend, but it’s not a biggie either. It’s not like Fourth of July.”
In the past Lindsay said rentals and sales of bikes and other outdoor equipment tends to pick up once schools get out in mid June.
While most of their facilities are open and fully functional, USFS personnel still recommend that campers, hikers and boaters call the local USFS office or visit the web site at http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/tahoe.
Contact rangers or officials at these offices:
Truckee Ranger Station – 587-3558
Big Bend Visitor Station – 426-3609
Sierraville Ranger Station- 994-3401
** Reservations available by calling 1-877-444-6777 or the reservation web site at http://www.reserveusa.com
The following information was effective May 28.
Boca Stampede area –
— Prosser Reservoir- The lake level is normal and the boat ramp accessible. Campgrounds are open but there is no potable water due to water system problems.
— Boca and Stampede Reservoirs- Boat ramps are accessible and campgrounds are open.
Boca campground is a dry campground, but Boca Springs and Boca Rest campgrounds have water.
— Most all of the campgrounds along Highway 89, north and south, are open.
Highway 89 South campgrounds include Granite Flat, Goose Meadow and Silver Creek. All are all open.
Highway 89 north campgrounds include Upper Little Truckee and Lower Little Truckee, both of which are open.
— Trails and bikeways- The Pacific Crest Trail is still snow covered in many places. The Commemorative Overland Emigrant Trail from Stampede Reservoir to Donner Camp Picnic area is open.
The bike trail along Highway 89 south is open from Tahoe City to Truckee.
Sierraville area –
— Jackson Meadow Reservoir – Still closed due to snow. Pass Creek campground is open with no services. East Meadow opened on May 29, but water availability was not yet determined.
— Roads: Henness Pass Road is open to Jackson Meadows, but the Meadow Lake Turnoff is closed because of snow.
— Trails: Cottonwood Botanical Trail, a nice two-mile walk heading up to Cottonwood Creek from Cottonwood Campground on Highway 89, is open.
East of Nevada City (as of May 24)
— Most of the campgrounds, picnic areas and trails along Highway 20 are open, however the Grouse Lakes campground and surrounding trails are still closed due to snow.
— In the Bowman Lake area, the road is open up to the Carr Lake turn off, where it is closed due to snow. The Fuller Lake picnic area and boat ramp is closed due to logging of hazard trees and a thinning operation. Rucker Lake primitive campground is also closed for their same reason.
— All roads in the Gap Fire vicinity will remain closed until further notice.
The forest recommends that all visitors to its campgrounds, picnic areas and reservoirs contact the local Forest Service offices to obtain information regarding updates or changes.
Donner Memorial State Park
Located on the east side of Donner Lake, the park contains a campground with 150 sites along with a day-use area along the lake with picnic tables, restrooms and a beach area.
The park also has over three miles of frontage on Donner Lake and Donner Creek.
Other amenities and attractions include a boat ramp run by the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District that is available to park users, the Emigrant Trail Museum and the Pioneer Monument.
Campsites can not, however, be reserved. They are on a first-come, first -serve basis.
For more information about the park, call 582-7894.