The days are getting longer, the snow is melting away and camping season is just around the corner.
The U.S. Forest Service has been working to make needed repairs and replace worn infrastructure in several campgrounds on the Inyo National Forest and would like to provide the following updates to visitors starting to plan their camping trips.
Convict Lake Campground – All restroom buildings are being replaced and upgrades are being made to improve handicapped access. Work that began last November is scheduled to resume in April and should be completed by June 3. The campground will be closed during fishing opener, but Convict Lake, the Resort and surrounding day use areas are now open to the public and will be accessible during fishing opener. The campground is scheduled to reopen on Monday, June 4. If the project is completed ahead of schedule the campground will open before June 4. Updates will be posted on the Inyo National Forest web site. Reservations for June 4 and beyond can now be made at www.recreation.gov  or by calling 877-444-6777.
Sherwin Creek Campground – The sewer line that served the flush toilets in this campground has been decommissioned due to the aging infrastructure and costly replacement. The Forest Service is installing vault toilets and improving the availability of water throughout the campground. Work that began last November will resume in April and is scheduled to be completed in the beginning of June. It is possible that the work will be completed ahead of schedule and the campground will open before June 4. Updates will be posted on the Inyo National Forest website. Reservations are not currently being accepted for the campground. Upon the announcement of a campground opening date, reservations will be accepted at www.recreation.gov  or by calling 877-444-6777. Updates will be posted on the Inyo National Forest website.
Mammoth Lakes Basin Campgrounds – A severe windstorm last November 30 blew down thousands of trees in the Mammoth area, including the Mammoth Lakes Basin. With the mild weather in December and January, the Forest Service was able to remove fallen and hazard trees throughout the Lakes Basin recreation areas and campgrounds. As a result, minimal delays are expected in the opening of Lakes Basin campgrounds and day use recreation sites.
Reds Meadow Campgrounds – The November 30 windstorm caused widespread damage in the Reds Meadow Valley. All campgrounds in the Valley received damage from fallen trees that will require repairs and infrastructure replacement and, as a result, there will be delays in campground openings for the summer of 2012. The Forest Service was able to begin damage assessments and clearing trees in January, but had to stop work upon the arrival of winter weather in late January. The Forest Service plans to resume work as soon as conditions allow and will open the Valley to vehicle access and reopen campgrounds as soon as is feasible and safe. Opening dates of campgrounds will be dependent upon weather and the conditions and circumstances that are encountered during cleanup efforts. Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile Campgrounds will be the first to open and will be first-come/first-served as normally operated. Reservations are not being accepted for the group campgrounds in Reds Meadow Valley until opening dates can be established. Please visit the Inyo National Forest website for updated information and scheduled opening dates.
Glass Creek, Hartley, Upper and Lower Deadman, Obsidian Group, and Big Springs Campgrounds – Last July the Forest Service closed Deadman, Hartley, and Obsidian Group Campgrounds as the result of a serious and unexpected budget shortfall. This year the Inyo National Forest has adjusted budget reductions and has worked to ensure the public that these campgrounds will be open. The campgrounds will be open for public use as soon as weather and conditions allow. Please visit the Inyo National Forest website for the updates and scheduled openings.
Big Meadow, Iris Meadow, and Aspen Group Camp in the Rock Creek area - All these campgrounds will have their restrooms replaced with new accesible flush toilet units. They will remain closed until near Memorial Day weekend. At that time all work should be completed and the campgrounds will open for the season.
On the north end of the Forest the minimal snowpack and mild weather conditions will likely allow the Forest Service to open several campgrounds and day use recreation sites in time for fishing opener. As April 28 nears, visit the Inyo National Forest website for projected opening dates at Old Shady, New Shady, Pine Glen, Oh! Ridge, June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, and Lower Lee Vining Campgrounds.
Campgrounds on the south end of the Forest scheduled to open for the start of fishing season, weather and snow permitting, include French Camp, Tuff, McGee Creek, Bitterbrush, Big Trees, Forks, Intake II, Bishop Park, Four Jeffery, Sage Flat, Upper Sage Flat, and Whitney Portal.
Campgrounds currently open include Grandview, Lone Pine, and Lower and Upper Grays Meadow. Water is off in both Gray’s Meadow Campgrounds at this time, however the restrooms have been replaced with new accessible vault toilets and new fire rings and tables will be installed this year.
In spite of the campground repairs, wind damage, and some delayed openings, there are ample camping and recreation opportunities throughout the Inyo National Forest. The Forest Service encourages you to get the camping gear out of storage, get outside and enjoy your national forest! If you have questions about camping or recreation opportunities, please either visit the Inyo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/inyo , or call or stop by any of the Forest Service visitor centers.