Some Campgrounds Still Closed After Record-Setting Winter

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ELDORADO NATIONAL FOREST -- Early June is when the camping season in the high Sierra is usually well underway. But despite the warmer temperatures we've been seeing, it's been a slow start for would-be campers thus far.

Campers in the Crystal Basin Recreation Area of the Eldorado National Forest didn’t have to worry about crowds Thursday.

“We made plans to come up here three months ago, we thought it would be nice, warm and sunny, but we’ll make do," said camper Frank Duran.

There haven't been enough warm and sunny days in many of the higher campgrounds in the Sierra. Wrights Lake Rec Area won’t be open for another month.

"Above 6,000 feet there may still be snow and some delayed openings," said Jennifer Chapman, spokesperson for the Eldorado National Forest.

One of those places is the popular Loon Lake campground, which is two weeks behind after it got hit hard this winter.

Rockslides on Ice House Road and trees knocked over by the weight of the snow have made getting there a challenge. While most of the snow is melting fast, trees that fell over the winter damaged picnic benches.

Loon Lake is the exception. There are many lower-elevation campgrounds in the Eldorado National Forest that are open.

One group from the Bay Area will wait for better weather this weekend at Jones Fork Campground at the Union Valley Reservoir. And Frank Duran and Alisha Wills were redirected after they were told Loon Lake was still closed. With a crazy weather year, they say it could have been worse.

“Could have been flash floods, could have been a lot more mess, could have been a lot more trees fallen down on the road on the way," Wills said.

But there are still dangers that lurk in the aftermath of the heavy winter. Trees are weakened and can fall, and landslides can still happen. The biggest danger is high water along streams and creeks.

"Streams are going to have high water. High water is always a problem in spring melt time period, but you have to be really careful around our streams and rivers this year," Chapman said.

Despite the drawbacks, some are determined to enjoy their camping experience.

"This is nice, it’s nice and quiet and weather’s not bad, I’ve had worse," Wills said.

Forestry officials say there are over 50 campgrounds in the Eldorado National Forest, you can check campground conditions by checking their website.