Bitterroot Campgrounds Open for Long Weekend
The Memorial Day weekend weather forecast is looking good for outdoor activities, and the Bitterroot National Forest is where quite a few outdoor activities happen. Almost all of the Como Recreation Area is open this weekend, but the daily pass starts Saturday at $5 per vehicle ($30 for a season pass, however).
In fact, most campgrounds on the Bitterroot National Forest are open this weekend. You can always contact the area offices to make sure, though. Some areas have water available, but you might just want to take your own water supply along. And, don't leave trash - pack it in, pack it out.
Tod McKay of the Bitterroot Forest had general tips for those heading out for what might be their first family outing of the late spring-early summer season. And, weather was the first consideration. Be ready for changing conditions. As we have seen over just the last week, hot days with sunshine can be followed within 24 hours by some snow. And remember that Montana's overnight temperatures this time of year are definitely much cooler than the day.
Along with the the weather, be aware of road conditions BEFORE you drive on them. The muddy roads can get you stuck, but even more importantly, if you drive through the mushy earth, you do more damage to the roadbed. If you come across damage or a tree that's fallen or a culvert that's clogged, contact the Forest Service. The phone numbers - Stevensville Ranger District - 406 777-5461, Darby/Sula - 406 821-3913, West Fork Ranger District - 406 821-3269.
Campfires - keep them small and when you leave, Put Them Out! Last year, we had way too many abandoned campfire because people were in a hurry. Put the fire out. The coals should be cold to the touch. Use lots of water.
Expect other people to be out there this weekend and politely share the road. Stay on the designated routes and grab a free Motor Vehicle Use Map before you go at the Ranger Stations or the Bitterroot Supervisor's Office in Hamilton. Or just download a map at the Bitterroot National Forest website. Check their Facebook page, too, for the latest conditions.