When the National Forest Service announced the closure of all national forests in California through September 17, the phones of various National Parks and California State Parks began ringing off the hook. Many people had their Labor Day Weekend camping reservations or plans cancelled, and are in search for an alternative. There’s a lot of confusion about where people can go through the weekend. We’re here to help.
First and foremost, the national parks and monuments remain open throughout NorCal, except if that particular area is impacted by fire. Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and most other outdoor areas managed by the federal government will remain open. Of course, the major exception is Lassen Volcanic National Park, which remains closed due to extensive damage from the Dixie Fire.
California State Parks that are not impacted by fire will also remain open through weekend. Parks like McArthur Burney Falls State Memorial Park, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Castle Crags State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park all remain open. Conversely, all the state parks in the Tahoe region, including Emerald Bay State Park, are closed indefinitely due to the Caldor Fire. A list of all state parks closed can be found here.
The Bureau of Land Management, which manages 15 million acres of land in California, will also stay open through the weekend. We suggest checking with each individual area before planning a trip and adhere to the strict fire guideline throughout the state. Also, prepare for smoky conditions throughout NorCal.
Unfortunately, the nine national forests closed throughout NorCal consist of a considerable amount of options during Labor Day Weekend. But some exemptions were made within these forests that could allow for recreation.
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has given exemptions to lake-base businesses on Shasta and Trinity lakes to allow boaters to enjoy the weekend. Harbors on Shasta Lake, along with Lake Shasta Caverns, will stay open through the weekend. The marinas on Trinity Lake will stay open as well. That being said, shore access to these lakes remain prohibited. Other forests have also provided exemptions that you can find on each of their website.
Many of the wilderness areas that are popular for backpackers remain closed due to fires, including the Trinity Alps Wilderness, Marble Mountain Wilderness, Caribou Wilderness, Desolation Wilderness and Russian Wilderness.
Some areas have been closed for various other reasons. Like Devils Postpile National Monument will be closed through September 17 because the roads leading into the park are all on national forest land. The best way to go is to check with each individual destinations, either by phone or on their website, to determine if they are open to the public and in what capacity.
The dangerous fire season throughout Northern California has certainly put a damper of recreation, but we must be safe in order to help save lives and property. Do your part and don’t contribute to wildfires this Labor Day Weekend.