Forest Service reopens camping on the South Fork of the Boise River

The Mountain Home Ranger District is opening several recreation areas to overnight camping along the South Fork Boise River and the west side of Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

The popular fishing and camping area has been limited to day use since flash floods hit in August of 2013.

“A careful evaluation of each recreation area on the west side of Anderson Ranch Reservoir and from the dam down the South Fork Boise River to the Danskin Boat Launch has occurred,” said District Ranger Stephaney Church. “This review identified several sites not in imminent danger from a potential flash flood or mudslide.”

Areas open for overnight use will display the universal camping symbol. Areas that remain closed are campgrounds at Evans Creek, Spillway, and Tailwaters, along with a few dispersed recreation areas adjacent to the South Fork and the Danskin Boat Launch.

“We are delighted to finally see enough recovery that the threat to overnight campers is reduced in some areas,” Church added. “It will be of critical importance though for recreationists to avoid camping in day use only areas as the potential of a flash flood or mud slide from an intense storm event remains. If this occurs at night, while campers are not alert to their surroundings and changing weather conditions, it could be life threatening.”

She added that some hazards may not be immediately visible to users from the recreation areas.

People floating the South Fork of the Boise River should also beware of hazards in the river, such as new rapids, logs, sandbars and other obstructions.

Here’s a list of what’s allowed in the area:

Castle Creek Campground: Overnight camping allowed, but the river bar on the west side of the campground is closed to overnight camping due to it being in the flood plain of Castle Creek. Restroom facilities are not available due to the structure being burned in the fire.

Evans Creek Campground: Day use only. Two creeks run adjacent or through the campground. Concern remains for a mud flow event spilling into the campground due to the limited capacity of the bridge to move debris in a flash flood event, and a small diameter culvert below a recent private land timber harvest which may increase soil instability.

Elk Creek Boat Launch: Day use only as usual.

Spillway Campground: Day use only. This site was open for overnight use, but a recent review of the surrounding hillslopes revealed more danger than previously thought due to the degree of the fire’s intensity above the site and the lack of vegetation recovery have prompted high concern of a potential mud flow event.

Tailwaters Campground: Day use only. The restrooms are available for use. The Boat Launch is open however a newly formed rapid is just downstream of the launch site.

Village and Reclamation Village: Overnight use allowed.

Spur Roads off the SF Boise River Road with overnight use allowed include the 121 J, K, L, M, N, O, Q, and R road spurs.

Spur Roads off the SF Boise River Road with day use only include the 121 P, S, T, and U road spurs. The threat of a flash flood or mud slide remains due to unstable hill slopes and drainages above or directly across from these locations. It is aggravated because there is little or no flood plain to handle a high intensity rain event which could affect the main river flows. Even though specific sites did not burn, surrounding hazards are present.

Danskin Boat Ramp: Day use as usual.

Cow Creek Campground: Overnight camping allowed.

Dog Creek Campground: Site is located north of Pine. It will remain closed to all entry due to very unstable soils in the headwater area of Dog Creek. The campground would be in a direct path of any mud flow or flash flood event. Trails within the area closure will remain closed, but trails near or adjacent to the closure are open, but have not been maintained. These include the Green Creek, Cross Cut Creek and Camp Creek Trails.

Danskin OHV Area: This area will remain closed to motorized and mechanized use. A planned bridge replacement via helicopter has been delayed.

Wilson OHV Trails: This area is closed to motorized and mechanized use due to extensive trail damage.