White River Natl. Forest campgrounds open for the season; camp responsibly

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Remember to camp responsibly this season and take necessary precautions when in bear country.

RBC | The summer season is fast approaching and many White River National Forest campgrounds are scheduled to open in mid-May. Lower elevation campgrounds are expected to open at times indicated on the Forest Campground list ; however, higher elevation campgrounds (above 8,000 feet) including many near Aspen and the Flat Tops, will likely be delayed in opening due to high snowpack or impacts from avalanches.

Prior to heading out on your trip, please check with the local Ranger Station on the status of campgrounds, roads and trails.

“Across the forest, we had an impressive spring as far as precipitation goes,” said Kate Jerman, public affairs officer. “The snow and rain over the past few months have created variable conditions on the ground. Unfortunately, some of our high-elevation recreation sites have been impacted by avalanche debris and debris movement. We urge everyone to exercise caution, ‘know before you go’ and if you notice damage at a site please report it to the local Ranger Station or campground host.”

Be Bear Aware: Follow Food Storage Regulations

The White River National Forest is located in bear country and has a mandatory food storage order to decrease the likelihood of bear-human conflicts. All food must be stored in a bear-resistant manner by using a food locker in campgrounds, an IGBC approved container or inside a vehicle in a sealed container. All food and attractants must be stored where bears can’t access them at night and during the daytime when unattended. If a bear becomes habituated to receiving food in a campground or recreation area and becomes a threat to humans, it may be euthanized.

Please help keep yourself, others and bears safe by following these guidelines:

Keep food, cooking items, and other attractants such as scented toiletries like toothpaste or sunscreen in food lockers, sealed inside a hard-sided vehicle, or in IGBC approved bear-resistant container.

Do not store food or toiletries that have odors inside tents.

Do not leave trash around camp. Deposit it in dumpsters provided, or double bag it and put it in a hard-sided vehicle.

Keep your fire ring clean: burn only paper and wood. Do not put food scraps, liquids, glass or metal in the ring.

The Forest Service works in close coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on bear management issues. The Forest Service adheres to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) standards for bear-resistant containers, trash receptacles and coolers. For more information on IGBC approved bear resistant products, visit: http://igbconline.org/bear-resistant-products/.

For more information about camping and recreation on the White River National Forest, visit us here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

Special to the Herald Times