Following is the Missoula Area National Forest/Bureau of Land Management weekly recreation update as compiled by the Missoula Ranger District:
Check out the Lolo National Forest homepage at www.fs.fed.us/r1/lolo
LOLO NATIONAL FOREST
Missoula Ranger District, (406) 329-3814: Rock Creek campgrounds are now open with full services and a $5/night fee. The Army Reserve will be doing practice maneuvers at Blue Mountain on May 4 and 5. To complete maintenance, the Rattlesnake Trailhead parking lot will be closed on Tuesday, May 8 and the unpaved portion of Sawmill Gulch Rd. Will be closed on Wednesday, May 9. The Blue Mountain forest road 356 is open.
Seeley Lake Ranger District, (406) 677-2233: Ice is going fast on area lakes as well as the snow in the valley bottom. Spring conditions exist for snowmobiling in the higher elevations. The hiking trailheads are not accessible at this time, anticipate mid May. Roads continue to be closed to wheeled vehicles due to snow and soft road bed conditions. Loons have returned to the valley and are selecting nesting sights! Clearwater Canoe Trail is now accessible.
Ninemile Ranger District, (406) 626-5201: The roads are starting to thaw throughout the Ninemile District. Exercise caution when driving forest roads due to soft snow conditions and/or muddy spots. Grand Menard Picnic Area and the Discovery Trail are now accessible. For more information on road and trail conditions contact the district.
Superior Ranger District, (406) 822-4233: North Fork of Little Joe is plowed to mile 10.7. Trout Creek Road No. 250 is plowed to Heart Lake Trailhead. Camel's Hump Highway is passable but only one lane in places. Please refrain from traveling soft roads to prevent roadbed damage during spring breakup. Hiawatha (Old Milwaukee grade) and Norpac Road have ongoing fiber optic construction, please use caution.
Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District, (406) 826-3821: The Thompson River Road is plowed from Highway 200 to Highway 2. Prospect Creek Road is open from Highway 200 into Idaho. The Bend Ranger Station cabin rental facility is available for reservations.
SMOKEJUMPERS VISITOR CENTER, Aerial Fire Depot (406) 329-4934:
The Smokejumpers Visitors Center is closed for the season. Call to schedule group tours.
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT:
Missoula Field Office: (406) 329-3914: Spring snow conditions exist on the Garnet Mountains. While there is still over two feet of snow in Garnet Ghost Town, winter trail users should expect the snow to be soft on warm afternoons. In addition, some bare patches exist on trails in the lower elevations. Visitors to Garnet should not expect to be able to reach the ghost town by wheeled vehicles until mid-May. There are still several dates open for the cabin rentals in Garnet, for more information call 329-1031.
LOLO PASS VISITOR CENTER, Lochsa Ranger District, Powell Office: (208) 942-3113: Lolo Pass Visitor Center and warming hut are closed for the season. The trails are still open and all restrictions have been lifted. Parking passes are not required at this time.
BITTERROOT NATIONAL FOREST, Hamilton (406) 363-7100; Stevensville (406) 777-5461; Darby (406) 821-3913; Sula (406) 821-3201; West Fork (406) 821-3269: Recreation web site: www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot. Summer cabin rentals are available. The Darby Historical Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday, 8:30-4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Recreational use mushroom permits are available at all districts; however, commercial mushroom permits are only available from the Darby Ranger District. The Magruder Corridor road to Elk City is still closed, as is Highway 38 (the Skalkaho Highway). Most campgrounds open, but without services at this time (call districts for specific details.) Please leave your favorite recreation area clean and do not litter!
BEAVERHEAD-DEER LODGE NATIONAL FOREST: Wisdom Ranger District: (406)689-3243. Chief Joseph Pass Cross-country ski area trails are not groomed but have good spring skiing. The parking lot is not plowed, use caution when parking on highway shoulder.