Kern River District Summer Update!
May 20th, 2015 by Eric Mart
Kernville, Calif., May 19, 2015—Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the busy recreation season for the Sequoia National Forest. Campgrounds are open for the season, and you can visit www.recreation.gov to search for and reserve a site at many of your favorite campgrounds. All Forest roads and trails are also open for the season—ready for hikers, mountain-bikers, horseback riders, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts to get outside and enjoy their public land. Please be aware that campfire restrictions are in effect, and campfires are only allowed in campsites and day-use areas outlined by the current Forest Order (posted on www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia and available at Forest Service offices).
The District took steps in 2014 to promote a healthy ecosystem along the Wild and Scenic Upper Kern River. Camping is now permitted only in developed (fee) campgrounds and designated dispersed (free) camping areas along the Upper Kern River. Day-use activities such as fishing and picnicking are still allowed within the entire corridor. Halfway and Thunderbird were converted into group campgrounds in 2014, and can be reserved through Recreation.gov. These changes have already significantly reduced the negative impacts caused by previous overcrowding (such as extreme littering, improper disposal of human waste, and damage to vegetation). An Upper Kern River map showing these sites is available on our website and can be picked up at one of our offices.
District Ranger Al Watson will again temporarily waive day-use and overnight camping fees at Auxiliary Dam, Old Isabella, and South Fork Recreation from July 1 to October 1. In response to continued drought conditions, all coin-operated showers on the Kern River Ranger District will be inoperable for the summer to conserve water for drinking and flush toilets. Live Oak North, Live Oak South, and Live Oak Group Campgrounds will remain closed for the duration of 2015, unless needed for overflow camping.
The Blackrock Visitor Center is open and ready for visitors to the high country, and it is open Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). The Lake Isabella Office is open Monday through Friday; and the Kernville Office is open seven days per week. All office operating hours are from 8:00 am. To 4:30 p.m. Plan your trip to the Forest now; and if you have any questions or want more information, contact the Kernville Office at (760) 376-3781, the Lake Isabella Office at (760) 379-5646, or the Blackrock Visitor Center at (559)539-2607 ext. 72276.