Forest officials are closing Letts Lake, Mill Valley, and Masterson campgrounds due to ongoing safety hazards, according to Forest Order 08-22-05. These campgrounds are in addition to several other campgrounds and trailheads that were previously closed.
Forest crews have already removed several dead and dying trees that pose a safety risk in these campgrounds, but officials have since identified additional trees that will need to be removed before the campgrounds can be safely reopened.
Ongoing drought conditions and insect activity continue to weaken and kill trees.
“In our current environmental situation, we are going to continue to have trees that are stressed,” said Grindstone District Ranger Loren Everest.
The timeline for completing the hazard tree mitigation is unknown at this time, officials said.
“We are moving forward with all options available to us,” Everest said. “But the reality is that our access to class C fallers is limited.”
Class C fallers are advanced sawyers, or chainsaw operators, who must pass a rigorous qualification process and evaluation before they can work on large-diameter trees.
“Closing these campgrounds is a difficult decision but is necessary to protect public safety,” said Everest.
“We are working as quickly as we can to safely reopen the campgrounds.”
Forest officials remind visitors to be cautious when traveling through the forest and to be aware at all times of potential hazards.
“No matter where you are going in the forest, you need to be aware of your surroundings,” said Grindstone District Recreation Officer Benjamin Gray. “Be aware of what’s over your head.”
More information on recreation activities and campgrounds is available online: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/mendocino/recreation
The Mendocino National Forest consists of 913,306 acres along northern California’s coastal range. The forest is headquartered in Willows and maintains district offices in the communities of Covelo and Upper Lake.
More information is available at www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.