Idaho Power Campgrounds - Currently Closed
Summer camping fees go into effect April 1 at Idaho Power parks in Hells Canyon. Fees range from $6 for a tent space to $16 for an RV space. Discounts are available for seniors and veterans.
For a full rate schedule, maps, and other park information, visit the Parks link at the Idaho Power website.
You may now make in-season campsite reservations on-line as much as nine months in advance. There is a $10 fee for reserving on-line, and they may be made for visits scheduled between the first Friday in April through the last Sunday in October. A phone reservation option is also available for $15; call 1-844-472-7275.
Smaller overnight campsites are not included in the reservation system. In Hells Canyon, Carter's Landing and Moonshine Mine remain available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Recreational Area Updates
Snake River Road is open to the public and the overnight closure is no longer in effect.
Idaho Power opened some of its recreational facilities Friday, May 1. In our area, the Woodhead boat launch is open, along with developed campgrounds, parks, and day-use sites, but no overnight camping is allowed except at dispersed campsites in the Upper Brownlee area. Idaho Power will continue to evaluate the situation and follow guidance from state and federal health officials when determining which sites to reopen when, and how to ensure the safety of the public and their employees. During Idaho Power's phased-in reopening, visitors may check the list of facilities at the website to ensure their destination area is open.
Baker County has reopened Hewitt and Holcomb Parks in Richland. The water level in Brownlee Reservoir is at 2072 feet as of May 26; this is just 5 feet below full and allows access to all area boat ramps. Social distancing and heavy sanitation protocols are being followed, and campers are asked to boil water until the parks' water systems undergo required testing.
US Forest Service is beginning the phased transition to reopen some developed recreational sites on National Forests in the coming weeks. Forest Service roads, trails, and dispersed areas are open on most National Forests in Oregon and Washington. Hunting and fishing are also allowed in undeveloped areas on National Forest lands in accordance with state laws in areas not affected by closures. As developed sites reopen, they ask the public to avoid congregating at trailheads and/or parking areas, and to refrain from gathering in groups of 10 or more. Many services, including visitor centers, restrooms, and trash collection, may remain unavailable.
BLM Vale District has temporarily closed many of its developed recreation facilities, including the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and all developed campgrounds and boat access sites on the Baker Resource Area. Many other Vale BLM-managed trails and open space areas, including dispersed camping, remain open to the public, though visitors are encouraged to follow the CDC's social distancing and other recommendations. For more information, call the district office at 541-473-3144 or the Baker field office at 541-523-1256.
ODFW wildlife areas that are open this time of year will be open 4am to 10pm but no camping is allowed. No hunting seasons have been canceled, however, some areas where people fish are currently closed to access.
Kirkwood Creek Bridge Closure
Hikers need to be aware that the bridge located at the Kirkwood Historic Ranch about 5.5 miles south of the National Recreation Trail #102 trailhead at Upper Pittsburg Landing is closed until further notice. Decayed wood supports and undermined concrete abutments were found during a routine inspection last fall. A new bridge is in process, but will most likely be built after the 2020 field season.
An alternative crossing for hikers may be available at the footbridge near the mouth of the creek, approximately 300 feet downstream of the closed bridge. This is a small bridge, not suitable for stock use, and high water flows during the spring may submerge the deck at times.
For more information, contact the Forest Service offices in Joseph (541-426-5546) or Riggins (208-628-3916), or visit the website.
New Antlerless Elk Damage Tags
ODFW has announced that a new general season tag will replace 19 controlled hunts and the need to obtain specific landowner damage tags from local ODFW offices. Hunters will need permission to hunt on private land to use this tag, because the majority of land included is privately owned. No application is necessary, and this general season tag is available as long as the hunter has not purchased another tag, such as archery. The season runs August 1 to November 30 in Pine and Eagle valleys. For more information, call the ODFW Baker City Field Office at 541-523-5832, or visit the website.