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May 26, 2011 7:12 am

Shoshone National Forest on schedule despite weather

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No delays expected for holiday weekend

With an extended winter season and a sudden spring deluge of rainfall, the folks in charge of managing the Shoshone National Forest are offering a glimmer of sunlight. Despite the adverse weather, no delays are anticipated with regard to the opening of services and facilities in advance of the holiday weekend.

“I haven’t gotten any word of delayed openings for any of the lower elevation sites,” said Susie Douglas, public affairs specialist for Shoshone National Forest. “The campgrounds along the North Fork will begin services on Friday as scheduled.”

Some of those camping areas have already been opened without services on a no-fee basis this spring. Starting Friday, staying at any of the campgrounds will require users to pay a fee.

Douglas noted that higher-elevation campgrounds and facilities may not be accessible during the Memorial Day weekend, but that’s not uncommon.

“Our campgrounds up high on the Beartooth Plateau aren’t usually accessible at this time of the year anyway,” she noted.

Similarly, the rains haven’t hindered the clearing of area trails into the national forest and adjoining wilderness areas. Douglas noted seasonal workers, who are usually assigned the task of clearing winter deadfall from trails, are typically just starting their summer training, with such work not scheduled to begin until June.

“Right now, nobody’s told me there’s any delay in that area either,” Douglas said. “There’s no indications of any setbacks. We’re going by our normal schedule and haven’t changed anything.”

That said, Douglas did urge any outdoor enthusiasts venturing into the forest this weekend to be aware of the weather, particularly with regard to area streams.

“We have issued a news release urging people to be aware of high water and poor conditions,” Douglas said. “If you’re out hiking, that small creek you forded this morning might not be as small when you return to it in the afternoon or evening. Folks need to be cautious, be careful and stay safe.”

Her idea of a perfect Memorial Day weekend would be one where area search and rescue units aren’t needed to come to anyone’s aid.

For those coming to the Shoshone National Forest from outside the immediate area or for those wanting information about a specific campground or trail area, Douglas suggested a phone call to the ranger district in Cody, 307-527-6921.

“They’re the ones in touch with the people who are out,” Douglas said. “They have better knowledge than I do and get their information before I do.”

Memorial Day weekend is typically seen as the start of the summer use season for Shoshone National Forest.

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