Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest staff is working hard to reopen developed campgrounds by Memorial Day weekend, or shortly after, depending on conditions.
The target date for having many forest campgrounds open is May 22. Additionally, rental facilities like cabins will begin a phased reopening after May 15, based on seasonal availability and facility conditions.
Recreation areas and campgrounds may not be immediately open and available for use. Recreators should expect forest closures and modified operations to occur on a case-by-case basis.
Those with existing cabin rentals and lookout reservations through recreation.gov will be notified via email and/or text message if there are any changes. Please be aware that rentals and lookouts will not be cleaned in between use. As in previous years, it is up to the individual renters to bring their own cleaning supplies, and to clean before and after use of the site.
Trails and trailheads remain open. Please remember to avoid congregating at trailheads and/or parking areas and refrain from gathering in groups of 10 or more while Montana is in Phase 1 of the reopening plan.
“While we understand there may be some excitement from the public to return to their favorite recreation areas, please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe. Camping and recreating on national forests is something individuals and families look forward to experiencing every summer,” said Bill Avey, Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Supervisor.
“A campfire can be one of the best parts of camping; just don’t forget your responsibility to maintain and extinguish it to prevent wildfires,” remarked Avey. Fire fuels are drying out quickly with the warmer weather and with the recent winds, and an unattended campfire can grow quickly, making it hard to contain. “Just last weekend, our fire crews responded to four abandoned campfires that started small wildfires. As a reminder, if your campfire is too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.” Before leaving your campsite, please make sure your fire is out and cool to the touch. More at smokeybear.com.
The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Please remember to review current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with local and state guidelines for social distancing and use cloth face coverings.
For information on the opening dates for cabin rentals and lookouts by district and location, please visit recreation.gov, call your local ranger station and follow Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest on Facebook and Twitter (@LewisandClarkNF). To learn more about the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, visit: www.fs.usda.gov.