National forest campgrounds closing soon

WENTCHEE – The month of September brings many things--signs of the fall season with leaves turning color, cooler temperatures, and the closure of many national forest campgrounds.
For those new to recreating in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, be aware most national forest campgrounds close in September and October and will not reopen until late spring.
“Forest Service employees are in the process of closing campgrounds in preparation for the upcoming winter season,” said Public Services Staff Officer Bryan Mulligan. “Every year about this time we start the winterization process—turning off water systems so they don’t freeze and burst pipes when cold temperatures arrive, removing garbage receptacles, cleaning and locking many outhouses and restrooms, and locking gates that access the campgrounds.”
It’s important to protect the infrastructure in these campground from damage which might occur in harsh winter weather. Some campgrounds have already closed and others will be closing as the weather gets colder. Forest visitors are advised to check the status of campgrounds with local ranger stations before heading to a favorite campground.
In most cases, once a campground is closed for the winter it can still be used but no services are available, such as water, garbage, and sometimes outhouses. Visitors need to bring water, toilet paper, and pack out all garbage. Be aware, campgrounds on the Wenatchee River Ranger District close for the winter and are not available for use.
“Once campgrounds are closed, we ask people not to park their vehicles in front of the closed campground entrance gates as we still do some maintenance work in the campgrounds and need access,” Mulligan said.
As cooler autumn weather arrives, forest users are reminded to be prepared and carry with them appropriate gear and clothing for all weather conditions. Plan ahead with clothing appropriate for both warm and cold temperatures, and if heading out on a long day hike, be prepared for less daylight hours.
National forest campground closure dates:
  • Chelan Ranger District: All campgrounds close on October 26.
  • Cle Elum Ranger District: Concessionaire operated campgrounds close on September 28. District-maintained campgrounds close on October 19; Rider’s Camp is closed. 
  • Entiat Ranger District:  Yet to be determined, contact the Entiat Ranger District office at 509-784-4700 for information.
  • Methow Valley Ranger District: Campgrounds close by the end of September or early October. Once closed, they remain available for use with no amenities.
  • Naches Ranger District: Concessionaire operated campgrounds closed on September 8. All district-maintained campgrounds are closed except for Hause Creek which will remain open until September 30.
  • Tonasket Ranger District: All campgrounds close on October 15.
  • Wenatchee River Ranger District: Concessionaire operated campgrounds close on October 5.


Photograph--A Forest Service employee drives by a campsite at Fox Creek Campground on the Entiat Ranger District. Credit: USDA Forest Service


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