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Enjoying the outdoors for Memorial Day Weekend

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Posted at 12:57 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 16:06:12-04

If you are still wondering what to do on Memorial Day weekend, why not hit the outdoors?

Officials with the Sequoia National Forest are welcoming the public to visit their parks.

With more than one million acres of public lands that include wilderness areas, lakes, trails and campgrounds, the Sequoia National Forest encourages the public to “get outdoors” this Memorial Day weekend.

While recreation opportunities abound, visitors should be aware that the ongoing drought and bark beetle infestations are causing millions of trees to die on California’s forests. This summer, visitors need to pay attention to tree mortality safety precautions as well as water considerations before traveling.

According to Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott, the safety of visitors is the number one concern of the U.S. Forest Service. “Trees are dying in unprecedented numbers in California – this mortality will change the face of recreation opportunities on the Sequoia National Forest this summer.”

There is serious danger of falling dead and dying trees – not only in developed campgrounds, but throughout the forests along backcountry hiking trails, roads, and in remote or dispersed recreation areas,” Elliott said.

“Take caution not to camp under or near dead trees – even green trees can be dying but just haven’t turned brown yet,” Elliott added. “Please keep a safe distance from dead and dying trees and enjoy your national forest safely.”

Sequoia National Forest Campgrounds

Most Sequoia National Forest campgrounds are open for the season; you can visit www.recreation.gov to reserve your favorite location.

Hume Lake Ranger District Closures

Much of the area between Mill Flat Creek north to Verplank Ridge, the western and northern portions of Converse Grove, and areas east of Hume Lake and north of Burton Pass including all of Monarch Wilderness will remain closed under a Rough Fire Closure due to hazards that still pose a risk to visitors.

Kern River Ranger District Closures

Live Oak North, Live Oak South, and Live Oak Group Campgrounds will remain closed for the duration of 2016, unless needed for overflow camping.

Conserve Water
Due to the long-term drought conditions, some amenities may not be available. Please come prepared and conserve water! It's the best way to help ensure that everyone has water for safety and health, and to keep facilities open to all visitors.

Visitors may check water systems’ status with the Forest’s concessionaire “California Land Management” (CLM) before traveling to their favorite site:

Hume Lake Ranger District: CLM representative at 559-335-2232
Kern River Ranger District: CLM representative at 760-376-1815
Western Divide Ranger District: CLM representative at 760-376-1815

Fire Information
Despite the recent wet weather, the Forest Service is reminding campers to fully extinguish campfires. Also, be prepared, take your own water for drinking, washing and extinguishing campfires. Due to the ongoing drought, many places on the forest do not have drinkable water available.

Campfires are allowed with a valid California Campfire Permit. Stoves and lanterns with shut-off valves that use gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel also require a valid campfire permit. Permits are available Monday through Friday at each district office or at www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit/

Isabella Lake and the Kern River Glass Ban In Effect
Please note, a new glass ban is in effect —glass food and beverage containers are not allowed along shorelines, in campgrounds, or other areas identified within the Forest Order, viewable at” www.fs.usda.gov/goto/Kern_Glass_Ban.   See all Forest Orders by visiting www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sequoia/alerts-notices

Every Memorial Day weekend, Forest Service Law Enforcement personnel respond to an increased number of incidents on the forest, often involving alcohol and driving. Visitors are encouraged to recreate safely, know and abide by federal, state and local regulations so that everyone can have a safe, enjoyable holiday weekend.

To speak with a Forest Visitor Information Specialist, call
Sequoia National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 559-784-1500;
Hume Lake Ranger District at 209-795-1381;
Western Divide Ranger District at 559-539-2607;
Kern River Ranger District at 760-376-3781;
Kern River Ranger District’s Lake Isabella Office at 760-379-5646;
Kern River Ranger District’s Blackrock Visitor Center at 559-539-2607 ext. 72276.