Forest closure 1st September 2021

[UPDATE 14th September 2021: the closure of San Bernardino National Forest was extended today until midnight on 22nd September, as reflected in the text below, and described in this USFS press release.]

The entire San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest closed effective at midnight, Tuesday 31st August 2021. In addition to the forest and trails, this closure includes all campgrounds, picnic sites, trailheads, and forest roads. This step is being taken due to exceptional fire risk and limited available firefighting resources statewide.

The closure includes all parking areas (e.g., Humber Park, Lake Fulmor), and all gated roads are locked (e.g., South Ridge Road, Black Mountain Road, May Valley Road, Azalea Road, Bee Canyon Road, etc.). I know this closure will be frustrating and will present challenges for locals and visitors alike. Regrettably it seems likely, with the direction the climate is heading, that this will be an increasingly common phenomenon in 21st Century California.

Other parts of the San Bernardino NF and other national forests in Southern California are included in this closure (see original USFS press release here, and closure extension here). The initial closure order for two-and-a-half weeks until Friday 17th September has now been extended to Wednesday 22nd September. Bear in mind that last year a similar closure was extended three additional times for a total of 31 days (and camping was then prohibited for about two months after that).

The wilderness of Mount San Jacinto State Park is also closing on the same schedule (see their website here). The State Park campgrounds at Idyllwild and Stone Creek remain open at this time, as do the minor trails in the immediate vicinity of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Hikers will not be allowed beyond Long Valley Ranger Station.

As almost all public trails into the State Park pass through Forest Service land anyway, the USFS closure makes the Park functionally accessible only via the Tram.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is closed for annual maintenance between 7th September and 3rd October 2021 (as described on their website here).

Despite some encouraging thunderous rumblings in recent days, and some localized rain in Garner Valley and elsewhere, sadly forecast monsoon conditions did not result in significant widespread precipitation in the San Jacinto mountains. Further chances for rain are currently forecast for some days in early to mid September.

Minor fires in the Black Mountain area on the afternoon of Monday 30th August originated from dry lightning strikes. They were extinguished promptly while thankfully very small, largely by water-dropping helicopter filling up from Lake Fulmor, in addition to ground crews.

Please stay safe everyone. I will post any new information as soon as it comes available.

Very clear signage at the base of South Ridge Road, 2nd September 2021. Based on my surveys, many forest roads and trailheads have much less obvious signage.

One thought on “Forest closure 1st September 2021

  1. Good Morning, Jon! I saw those lightning strikes from down here in the desert, one in particular looked like it was out for damage. Scary stuff. Thanks for the heads up on the closures, hopefully that won’t affect out tower, since I think it’s crucial we are up there, but I understand their reasoning behind the rest of it. Stay safe up there! Rainy.

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