Holiday campers heading into California’s El Dorado National Forest can expect a chilly weekend with many high country campgrounds closed, ABC News10, Sacramento, reported.
“A lot of the campgrounds are just not in a condition where they can be opened this weekend,” U.S. Forest Service’s Frank Mosbacher said. “A lot of the high elevation campgrounds are just snowed in.”
Mosbacher said some of the higher elevation campgrounds in the popular Crystal Basin and elsewhere still need to have downed trees and limbs cleared, water systems repairs and other maintenance before they can be opened.
Even at lower campsites, Mosbacher said the ground will be wet in many areas, and he cautioned that high water will bring an added risk near creeks and rivers.
“Unfortunately, there’s a history of high water and fatalities at this time of year in the national forest, so be really careful around the high waters,” Mosbacher said.
Fisherman Ernie Schiavoni said he recently got his four-wheel drive truck stuck as he was driving back from a high country lake.
“We shoveled out 2 1/2 hours, me and my boys. Don’t come up here unless you’re prepared for some cold, cold weather,” Schiavoni urged.
Temperatures are predicted to be below normal over the Memorial Day weekend in the Sierra.
At the popular Ice House campground above Highway 50, there was still snow in many campsites and the campground may not be open for the weekend.
Mosbacher suggested campers check ahead of time to be sure their favorite area is open.
At a campground on Jenkinson Lake, Joy Thomas of Sacramento sat bundled up in a blanket Monday afternoon, even though the elevation is below 4,000 feet.
“I didn’t come prepared for it, but fortunately, I’m with my friends who have extra blankets,” Thomas said.
At Ice House Reservoir, teenage fisherman Jacob Schiavoni of Sacramento had some advice for anyone coming up to the higher elevations this weekend.
“If I was you, I’d definitely bring up some extra coats, some extra blankets and a camper – and lots of firewood,” he offered.