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California National Forests Prepare To Welcome Visitors For Memorial Day

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Visit California
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Mendocino National Forest

For those planning to spend Memorial Day weekend at one of the 18 national forests in California, the U.S. Forest Service has developed a map showing all open campgrounds, day-use sites, and trails in the state.

The agency’s Pacific Southwest Region reminds visitors to recreate responsibly, including packing out trash, social distancing and following restrictions.

The Plumas National Forest office says visitors should also keep a few things in mind. For example, in their area, there’s still patchy snow at higher elevations including in La Porte, Bucks Lake, and Lake Basin Recreation Areas. When driving it’s advised to go slow as roads could be slick or have damage from snow and recent rain.

Warmer weather is also causing snowmelt. Forest Service Public Information Officer, Lee Ann Schramel, said that means streams and lakes are currently filled with swift, very cold water, which can be deadly for even experienced swimmers.

“It can just overtake you before you’re even aware of it. That’s a particularly pernicious problem that we and all of our neighbors (have) – even down in the valley – it’s just a problem this time of year because the water is so inviting,” Schramel said.

Additionally, she said many reservoirs in the area are low due to continued drought conditions. Schramel advised that boaters make sure their vessel can be launched and anchored at their desired location before they head out.

She added that pandemic safety protocols are still in place.

“Stay in a smaller group or, you know, put your mask on. Try to maintain that six feet of distancing outside your family recreation unit, you know give people a wide berth on the trail, communicate so they know you're there and just practice good safety ethics,” she said.

Fireworks are also prohibited in all national forest lands and a campfire permit is needed if you're camping outside of a designated facility. But Schramel said the regulations shouldn’t stop visitors from having a great time.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “I tell you it’s gorgeous up here now.”