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Current conditions on Salmon-Challis National Forest


SALMON, Idaho (KIFI) — Memorial Day weekend will soon be here, and the weekend marks the beginning of the summer season for many outdoor enthusiasts. The Salmon-Challis National Forest welcomes visitors to Know Before You Go and learn about the travel conditions and numerous opportunities available for exploration on the Forest.

Many travel routes on the Forest are more accessible as spring moves towards summer. Forest officials ask people to stay off soft, muddy roads as not to damage them. Drivers should continually be on the lookout for damaged roads. The Forest encourages extra caution for travel at night and during periods of low visibility. Damaged road surfaces may not be marked and can be extremely hard to identify in the dark.

In addition, please stay on designated routes. Motor Vehicle Use maps (MVUM) are available at the Public Lands Center in Salmon or the local Ranger District offices. MVUMs can also be downloaded here. The MVUM maps show designated routes for motorized recreation users. 

Forest visitors can select from almost 87 campgrounds with fishing, hiking, or other outdoor activities nearby. Most of the Salmon-Challis National Forest campgrounds are available on a first-come-first served basis. Campgrounds may charge an overnight or day use fee where improved facilities and services are provided. Campgrounds that are open for the season can be found under the Recreation Conditions Report at the following location: Water may or may not be available. Due to the Moose Fire, Wallace Lake Campground will be closed this season until the hazards in the campground are mitigated. We anticipate having the campground open later this summer. In addition, you may camp outside of developed campgrounds in most areas on the Salmon-Challis National Forest, up to 300 feet from an open road, at no charge. Potable water, toilets, and other amenities are not generally available. If you choose to camp outside developed areas, be sure to bring adequate water or be prepared to purify any water source before drinking.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest has experienced multiple large fires in the last ten years, including last summer’s Moose Fire. There may be hazards associated with traveling adjacent to and entering burned areas, so please use caution when entering these areas. One popular route of concern is the Salmon River Road, from North Fork to Panther Creek. The Moose Fire burned along the Main Salmon River, adjacent to the Salmon River Road. There is potential for rocks and other debris to slough down onto the roadway and into the river. Additionally, culverts could become overwhelmed and plug with increased water flow causing water and debris to flow across the road and potentially damage the road. The Forest has addressed this issue already where Wallace Creek crosses the Stormy Peak Road. 

Forest visitors must always be prepared to stay longer than expected. Weather conditions such as high water, precipitation, and wind can rapidly change conditions on the ground. Wind can blow trees across roadways and high water and precipitation can wash debris across roadways blocking access or wash roadways out. Be sure to let someone know where you are headed and be prepared with extra food and clothing. 

Invasive species are plants, animals, and microorganisms that are not native to a particular area. They are also species that can cause severe damage in areas outside their normal range, harming the economy, the environment, or human health once they become established. Being aware of these pathways of spread can help us reduce the risk of accidentally moving harmful invasive species. By learning how to inspect and clean our belongings and knowing the source of the things we buy, we can begin to reduce the chance of inadvertently spreading something that could harm those things we cherish. More information can be found at:

The Central Idaho Dispatch Zone, which includes the Salmon-Challis National Forest, is at LOW fire danger. Only you can prevent wildfires. Please remember to fully extinguish all campfires. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.

For current conditions call the Public Lands Center in Salmon at 208-756-5100 or contact local Ranger District offices.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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