June-like conditions reported on Lake Tahoe trails
Although hikers are reporting early summer conditions in the forest surrounding Lake Tahoe, and the U.S. Forest Service is opening many recreation sites early due to a lack of snowfall this year, the federal agency is urging adventurers to be prepared for winter when getting outside this spring.
People have compared recent conditions to those typical in the second week of June, said Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Herron on Tuesday. Above 8,000 feet people are likely to still find snow, especially on north-facing slopes, she added. Anyone heading into the forest should also be prepared for the possibility of late-season storms.
“If people are going up there they need to plan accordingly,” Herron said. “It’s the mountains and the weather can change in five minutes.”
Chances of snow are predicted Sunday through Tuesday. Highs are expected in the 50s Friday and Saturday before dropping to the low 40s Sunday.
Warm clothing and a map and compass to help locate trails obscured by snow are among the items people should take with them when heading out, Herron said.
Visitors have also reported slippery conditions on area trails in the morning and soft conditions in the afternoon as remaining snow warms up. The warming snow can create “post-holing” situations where hikers may punch through the upper layer of snow. A walking stick or snowshoes are recommended for travelers, Herron said.
The Forest Service began opening some of its warm-weather recreation sites this week. Although many of the sites are accessible year around, the official openings signal the start of services like trash removal, bathrooms and parking. Eagle Falls parking area, Inspiration Point, Kiva Picnic area, Tallac Point day-use area, Big Meadows Trailhead, Logan Shoals and Secret Harbor each opened this week. The Eldorado National Forest also announced it will end the seasonal closure for dirt roads and trails this week.
“With the spring-like weather we’ve been having, we’re shifting Forest resources to open gates and parking areas to provide access to our beaches, trails and roads,” said Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais in a press release. “We’re not able to fully staff these sites until closer to our typical season, so we’re asking for your help in keeping these sites clean and safe.”
Until sites officially open the Forest Service urges visitors to pack out all trash, clean up after their pets, park vehicles off the roadway until parking lots are open, avoid parking on vegetation and avoid blocking access gates.
Baldwin and Nevada beaches are set to open May 1. The McKinney Rubicon Off-Highway Vehicle area, Sawmill Pond, Sandpit OHV area, Nevada Beach Campground and Chimney Beach are scheduled to open May 8. William Kent, Kaspian, Meeks Bay, Bayview and Fallen Leaf beaches and campgrounds will follow on May 15. Luther Pass Campground and Pope Beach open May 22, and Blackwood Canyon and Watson Lake campgrounds open June 1. The Taylor Creek Visitor Center parking area, grounds and restrooms will open May 15. The visitor center and Baldwin Museum at the Tallac Historic Site will be staffed beginning Saturday, May 23.
For more information on opening dates, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/OpeningClosingDates or call the Forest Supervisor’s office at 530-543-2694.
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