Recreationists planning to enjoy Independence Day on the Flathead National Forest are encouraged to plan ahead. Access to some sites may be limited due to work activities or snow at higher elevations. Fireworks are not allowed on National Forest System Lands, or any national park or state land, and a campfire should always be attended to and be “dead out” before leaving the area. The local forecast calls for hot dry weather, so please use extra caution with all sources of fire.
All but two campgrounds on the Flathead National Forest are open for the week of the Fourth of July Holiday. Murray Bay and Riverside Campgrounds are still closed for construction and are estimated to open at the end of July. There are several concession-operated campgrounds in which reservations (www.recreation.gov) are available for some sites, and other sites are first-come first-serve. You may notice some changes at the concession-run campgrounds as the new concessionaire strives to improve efficiency, service and visitor experience. Some fees have also changed this year. Campers are reminded that fee campsites must be occupied on a daily basis. Saving campsites is not permitted at a fee campground. Campground information, including a list of developed campgrounds on the Flathead National Forest, is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/flathead.
River enthusiasts are reminded to be prepared, wear required life jackets, know your abilities, have the proper safety gear on board and know how to use the gear. Treat the river with respect. Those planning to float the three forks of the Flathead River are encouraged to obtain an updated Forest Service publication, Three Forks of the Flathead Float Guide, for information on river regulations, accurate river locations and river flow information, and historical interpretive information of the area. The waterproof guide is an excellent resource for anyone recreating on the Flathead River and is available for sale through the Glacier Association and is available at any Flathead National Forest Office.
To minimize human-grizzly bear encounters, forest users are reminded to store all food and beverages so they are unavailable to bears. It’s the law. Food and beverages must be stored in a bear resistant container, or a hard-sided camper, vehicle trunk or cab, or hung at least 10 feet off the ground and four feet away from any vertical support, like a tree. Campers may comply with this by storing coolers and other food and drink in a vehicle when the campsite is unoccupied. The food storage order on the Flathead National Forest is intended for visitor safety, and safety and recovery of the grizzly bear.
Please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/flathead or contact a local Flathead National Forest Office for updated information:
Hungry Horse Ranger District 387-3800
Swan Lake Ranger District 837-7500
Tally Lake Ranger District 758-5204
Spotted Bear Ranger District 758-5376