Several popular campgrounds in Jackson County (Oregon) could be shuttered until August or even longer as the Forest Service grapples with who will be responsible for the properties in the coming summer and beyond.
According to a report, it could affect those wanting to camp and spend their weekends under the Douglas firs at seven Forest Service camping hotspots such as Union Creek, Farewell Bend, and Doe Point campgrounds.
Other campgrounds affected include Whiskey Springs, North Fork, Fourbit Ford, Abbott Creek, and Fish Lake. They are all clustered around Union Creek off Highway 62 in northern Jackson County or Fish Lake off Highway 140 in eastern Jackson County.
Jackson County won the bid in December to manage these campgrounds for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, which for decades has hired outside businesses to run its most popular campgrounds.
However, the former concessionaire and unsuccessful bidder, Rogue Recreation, appealed, arguing that the process was unfair, Forest Service records show.
The appeal is working its way through the federal courts, with a final decision expected in mid-July.
This only means that the camping season at these prime spots won’t kick off on Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer for most people, according to the Forest Service.
Forest officials suggest that campers consider looking outside of the High Cascades Ranger District for camping alternatives.
The closures do not affect resorts on Forest Service land, such as Union Creek, Fish Lake, and Lake of the Woods. The closure also doesn’t impact day-use areas.
Union Creek and Farewell Bend campgrounds collectively sport 135 campsites. The smallest of the group is the North Fork Campground, with three campsites and six tent sites.
This story originally appeared on Mail Tribune.