KAMIAH —The Forest Service invites the public to take advantage of the extended Memorial Day weekend by spending time on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The varied terrains of the forest offer seemingly endless recreation opportunities including hiking, camping, horseback and OHV riding, white–water rafting, mountain biking, and more.
Those getting outdoors should be mindful of the impact heavy precipitation and cooler temperatures have on conditions across the forest. Road surfaces may be impacted from increased runoff, and road shoulders are soft. Some districts are seeing increased wind–fallen trees across roads and trails due to heavy wind and snow over the winter. Crews are clearing roads and trails as soon as possible, but visitors should be prepared to encounter such obstacles. Forest users should also expect to encounter persistent snowpack at higher elevations of the forest, and for rivers and other waterways to be running fast and high. Be prepared for a variety of spring conditions by bringing forest maps, food and water, appropriate clothing (including layers), emergency and first aid supplies, and tools like a chainsaw when traveling on the forest.
Your local Forest Service office is your best source of information for the latest updates on conditions and recreation opportunities on the National Forest. Helpful staff at ranger stations and visitor centers can provide information on local forest conditions, recommend the best place to take your family camping, and sell you visitor maps to help you make the most of your adventure to the forest. Please visit https://bit.ly/NPClwNF-ContactUs for location, contact information, and regular business hours for an office near you.
Many campgrounds on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are now open for the season and ready to welcome you for the long weekend. For a list of campgrounds on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and information about opening dates and available services, please visit http://bit.ly/NPClwNF-Camping. Most campgrounds on the forest offer first–come, first–served site selection, but some accept reservations. To view reservable campsites and make a reservation, visit www.Recreation.gov or call 1877-444-6777.
Visitors can also camp in areas outside of developed campgrounds, known as dispersed sites. Campers who choose to stay in dispersed sites should take extra care to protect natural resources. If you camp at a dispersed site, “Leave No Trace” of your stay. Use existing fire rings, if available, and pack out your trash.
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests offers thousands of miles of motorized, non-motorized, and Wilderness trails for visitors to explore. Trail crews are working diligently to clear trails and provide access across the National Forest, but it is still early in the season. Hikers, bikers, and riders may encounter downed trees, rocks, and other hazards in the trail. In places recently impacted by fire, watch out for falling trees, rolling logs and rocks, poor tread, and holes from burned-out stumps. As trail work is completed, trail reports are posted online at https://bit.ly/NPClwNF-AlertsNotices and available at your local ranger station.
Road conditions on the National Forest can change rapidly as snow melts and spring weather causes break–ups in terrain. Road condition reports are available online at https://bit.ly/NPClwNF-AlertsNotices. For the latest information, please contact the ranger district where you plan to travel. Off–highway vehicle users should contact their local motor vehicle department or the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for information about requirements for operating on National Forest lands.
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests closure information is available online at https://bit.ly/NPClwNF-Closures or by contacting your local ranger station. A few notable closures on the forest may impact visitors’ Memorial Day Weekend plans. A portion of Slate Creek Road #354 on the Salmon River Ranger District is temporarily closed to full-sized vehicles due to a road washout. Several trails on the forest’s Palouse Ranger District are temporarily closed for trail maintenance work. For a full list of closures, please visit the forest website or contact your local ranger station.
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests offices will be closed Monday, May 30 for Memorial Day. Regular office hours will resume Tuesday, May 31.
Lolo Pass Visitor Center, located on U.S. Highway 12 at the Idaho–Montana state line, will be open on Memorial Day, so stop by to enjoy a day outdoors at Lolo Pass and recognize the holiday. Current hours of operation are Thursday through Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PDT). Restrooms are available 24/7 for those traveling the U.S. Highway 12 corridor.
Lolo Pass Visitor Center will be starting their summer Ranger Talk series over Memorial Day Weekend. Forest Service staff will be at Powell Campground (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) and Wilderness Gateway Campground (Saturday only) to give interpretive talks on a variety of topics. Events start at 6:30 p.m. (PDT). For more information, please call the visitor center at (208) 942-3113 or visit their Facebook page (https://bit.ly/LPVC-FB).
Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, located 48 miles east of Kooskia along U.S. Highway 12, will not be open to the public for Memorial Day Weekend this year. The Forest Service is preparing for exciting restoration work at the historic site, including an upgrade to interior and exterior interpretive displays and repair of several buildings. The first of this restoration work will begin in June and focus on major repairs to the visitor center and roof replacement on two structures. Lochsa Historical Ranger Station will be closed intermittently for public safety during project work, but the forest is excited to share these updates with the public once complete. For the latest updates on the status of the station, please contact the Lochsa-Powell Ranger District: (208) 926-4274.
Upcoming work at Lochsa Historical Ranger Station is made possible by funding through the Great American Outdoors Act–a historic piece of legislation which gave the USDA Forest Service new opportunities to deliver benefits to the American public through major investments in recreation infrastructure, public lands access, and land and water conservation. Learn more at www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/gaoa.
Before heading out for the holiday weekend, consider downloading the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests mobile app. Download the “National Forest & Grasslands Explorer” app to your mobile device, click “Select a Forest,” then select “Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.” The app includes visitor information, condition updates, and an informative tour of some of the area’s most special places.
While exploring the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, keep an eye out for Electronic Tour Sites. These sites allow you to download maps, podcasts, photos, historical information, and other content to your mobile device–even from remote backcountry locations. This content is then available for you to take with you as you continue your visit on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Learn more at http://bit.ly/NezClearHistoricRoutes.
We hope you’ll spend your holiday weekend on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests! For more information, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater or contact your local ranger station.