Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season for many outdoor enthusiasts. It also brings about many recreational opportunities on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District.
More than half of the district’s campgrounds are open. Although those requiring reservations are booked, six campgrounds open this weekend are first come, first served. For a list of what is open, check www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/clrdcamping. Because of wet conditions this spring, most forest roads are not yet open. Make sure to check the latest road information at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/roads before heading out.
With many roads closed, dispersed camping may be a bit more challenging during the Memorial Day weekend. If dispersed camping is your option, pull off the road within 300 feet in a way that does not obstruct traffic or damage the ground. Some areas only allow camping in designated areas or not at all. Remember to get a map, available at one of the visitor centers listed below, to avoid private land. The motor vehicle use map is a good resource, available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/mvum. No overnight camping is allowed at trailheads or picnic areas.
It is also important to remind visitors we do have a closure in place in the High Park Fire burn area, where restoration activities are taking place. Detailed information can be found online at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5418192.
A great source of information for those planning a trip to the forest is our visitor information centers. The Fort Collins office, located at 2150 Centre Ave., Building E starts summer hours May 25 and is staffed Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Arrowhead Visitor Center, located in the Poudre Canyon, also opens May 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Redfeather Visitor Center, located in Red Feather Lakes, opens May 25 and is regularly staffed Friday through Monday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Additional recreation information is available at www.fs.usda.gov/arp or on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District’s Twitter account @usfsclrd. Visitor information specialists are available to answer questions at 970-295-6700.
Make safety your top priority when heading into the forest. Remember your safety is your responsibility. Respect all signed closures; follow all regulations; and take precaution in mountain pine beetle hit areas. Make sure to look for open areas when selecting a location to camp or park. Take a saw or ax with you to remove fallen trees from roads to avoid becoming trapped. Dead and live trees can fall without warning.