Roads Update

Users are reporting the following for road access:

Safely and successfully drove up The North Road to Summit TH. A Prius made it.

Safely drove up and over Sherman Pass road from Kernville and down to 395.

Batch Park and Bear Creek roads are open.

Enjoy and be safe all.

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Latest Road Information

The roads page has been update to the latest information as of this posting. Many are wanting to get into the wilderness this Memorial Day weekend and roads are a big part of that. Here is some additional information to consider before heading out.

  • Most of the roads are still closed for accessing the Golden Trout Wilderness
  • On the SQF side – The North Road 21S50 – is “partially opened.” The catch is how far you can drive before hitting a snow drift? No reports of anyone making it to the Summit TH have been reported yet to GTW.org or to the Springville office of the USFS. Thus if you are going to attempt it, be prepared for walking on the road if a snow drift blocks you way.
    • Please DO NOT drive off the road to get around snow. This can cause further resource damage.
    • Walking could consist of 11 miles depending on how close a snow drift is to the gate that normally closes the road.
  • No word yet on how far over Sherman Pass one can drive just yet. There are also snow drifts that are common and “hang around” while other parts of the road are dry.
  • Mountain Home State Forest roads are open, but campgrounds are closed much like the Forest Service and Park Service.

If you have made contact with the State or Federal land managers offices on roads and have an update, please feel free to share in the comments below. It will be a great help to others.

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Sequoia National Forest Enters Fire Restrictions

Fire restriction information was just released from the Sequoia National Forest. Here is what the order states.

PORTERVILLE, Calif, May 8, 2020 – The Sequoia National Forest will enact fire restrictions prohibiting campfires, stove fires, welding, or smoking on all public lands managed by the Forest below 5,000 ft. The restrictions starting Saturday, May 9, are due to a heavy grass fuel load, drying conditions, and established high wildland fire danger.

The Forest is continuing to experience tree mortality, affecting approximately 600,000 acres of forest land. “These conditions coupled with late winter precipitation have resulted in a heavy grass fuel load,” said Forest Supervisor, Teresa Benson. “The restrictions are deemed necessary to protect public safety and prevent human-caused wildfires.”

Effective May 9, and until further notice, the following restrictions are in effect below 5,000 ft:

  • No Campfires or Stove Fires. As a reminder, all developed campgrounds are closed under the Regional Order.
  • Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns with shut-off valves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel, or propane.
  • No Smoking is permitted, except within an enclosed vehicle.
  • Operating an internal combustion engine off of properly designated roads or trails and welding are all strictly prohibited during the fire restriction period.
  • Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer rounds, and other incendiary ammunition or devices are not allowed in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument at any time. This includes sparklers or safe and sane fireworks.

Human-caused fires can be prevented.  One less spark can mean one less wildfire.  Do your part to prevent wildfires. To learn more, visit www.preventwildfireca.org/one-less-spark-one-less-wildfire.

Know Before You Go!  For additional information regarding fire restrictions, please contact your local Ranger Station Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm or email SM.FS.SequoiaNF@usda.gov for current information.

  • Kern River Ranger District             760-549-9533
  • Western Divide Ranger District      559-920-0460
  • Hume Lake Ranger District            559-791-5758
  • Supervisor’s Office                         559-920-1588

Stay informed, follow our webpage at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia, Facebook at #SequoiaNF, Twitter at @sequoiaforest or SequoiaNF OnCell app.

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Roads Update

Just wanted to do a quick mention that the roads information is updated and accurate as of this posting. Right now the only road open is to Kennedy Meadows from the east side of the Sierra Nevada. All other access is currently closed.

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General Updates for SNP, SQF, and INF

There are some official updates regarding obtaining a wilderness permit for the GTW due to the COVID-19 issue. Here is an excerpt below from the Sequoia National Forest (SQF).

2020 Golden Trout Wilderness Permits – Under current circumstances with COVID-19, the Sequoia National Forest will offer wilderness permits virtually through our website for travel dates after June 15, 2020.

  1. Print and completely fill out the Application for a Wilderness Visitor’s Permit
  2. Scan and email your completed application to the Sequoia National Forest to SM.FS.SequoiaNF@usda.gov
  3. Within a day or two, you will receive a response to your email, confirming receipt of your application. Your hard copy application will then take the place of your permit for overnight stay in the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National Forest. 

    Keep a copy with you and share the information with someone at home to anticipate your safe return. The Forest Service will keep an electronic copy of your application on file just in case, and for our records. It is your responsibility to monitor conditions and fire restrictions and provide for your own safety. Current road conditions and fire restrictions will be posted on this website throughout the summer.

Source: Sequoia National Forest

If you are wanting to access the Golden Trout Wilderness via Mineral King in the Sequoia National Park (SNP), that road will remain closed until further notice due to the COVID-19. There may be some changes coming in the next month or two so stay tuned!

As for the Inyo National Forest (INF), there are no updates regarding permits. Road access to Horseshoe Meadow area is still marked as closed.

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Final Snow Survey for 2020

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The final snow survey results for the Kern River Basin are in for 2020. The snow pack is not great for the area either, which is unfortunate. The May 1 average is 39% of normal for the area. Prepare for water sources to dwindle earlier than normal, especially when comparing it to last years numbers. Plan accordingly this season!

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Sequoia National Forest Announcement

Forest Service extends closure of most developed recreation sites in California through May 15

 

PORTERVILLE, Calif., – The USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, announced that most developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 15. Regional Order No. 20-03 is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd731223.pdf

The order does not close trails, trailheads, and general forest areas; these areas remain accessible for public use.  Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from local National Forests.

Outdoor recreation can be beneficial to mental and physical health but must be practiced safely. In light of the statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, we continue to ask visitors to recreate locally.

If you do plan on visiting the National Forest please be aware that:

  • No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste
  • All toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordingly
  • Avoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited
  • If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location

If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Closing any site for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen closed sites.

Please call your local Ranger Station Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm or email SM.FS.SequoiaNF@usda.gov for current SQNF information.

Kern River Ranger District             760-549-9533

Western Divide Ranger District      559-920-0460

Hume Lake Ranger District            559-791-5758
Supervisor’s Office                        559-920-1588

Stay informed, follow our webpage at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia, Facebook at #SequoiaNF, Twitter at @sequoiaforest or SequoiaNF OnCell app.

We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our national forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.

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April Snow Surveys are Still Coming

The COVID-19 issue has sure disrupted a lot of things locally. One of those areas are the snow surveys. The State of California uses their own employees as well as federal and private to complete the surveys up and down the Sierra Nevada. Early reports show the snow pack for the Kern River is around 50% of normal for this time of year. However, like many parts of the Sierra Nevada, the snow surveys not fully complete. The 3rd of each month is the last day for the survey. This then means the results could be posted that same day, but by the 4th at the latest.

If some of the early snow surveys are any indication, we will be around 50% of normal for the month of April. March’s storms were a nice boost as many areas were projecting almost 10% less if March remained a “dry” month. If additional reports to trickle in, there will be another update to follow. Stay tuned!

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March Snow Survey Results

kernriver032020

As many of you local California residents have experienced, we are not doing so well regarding rain and snow. The numbers from the March 1 snow survey reflect the dry month. The Kern River Basin is at 45% of the average. If we do not get anymore snow come April 1, we will be at 40% of normal. The good news is it shows how much water content we do have in the current snow pack is rather well. It will only drop 5% in a month. Many are hoping for a “Miracle March.”

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Trail Report from August 2019

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Back in August of 2019 Phil headed out of the Forks of the Kern Trailhead to Painters Camp. Here is what he had to report. Should help with some planning this season.

Hiked from Llyods Medows – Forks of the Kern up to Painters Camp late Aug 2019. From the Forks up to the Stock bridge (about 10 miles in) the trail is good. There are more deadfalls – fallen trees across the trail than usual. Expect about 1 every half mile or so. After the Stock Bridge it gets a whole lot worse the trail has one ever few foot ball fields of trail. The Trail fades in an out starting about 1/2 mile past the bridge. I have done this trail 25 times in the past 30 years, know the land marks and it took some serious work to stay on trail. If you have never been past the bridge I strongly suggest planning for a lot of extra time to sleuth out the trail. It generally parallels the river, BUT there is a section 1/2 mile or so past the bridge that turns inland goes over a rise then fades out in a meadow. This meadow has several bark-less dead tall trees – Widow Makers just waiting to fall over, not the place where you want to be stumbling around. The best I can suggest is to look to the far end of the Meadow on the left is a Large Granite bolder head to wards it, and pass on the left and slightly down hill the trail picks up just among a patch of a few trees. After that the trail fades in an out, and eventually comes within sight of the Kern River. At Manzinita Creek go across and diagonally across the gravel river bed the trail picks up the far slope. About 3+ miles in The trail down to painters is marked with a Carin. That will take you down by the Kern about 1/4+ mile up you come to Nine Mile Creek the ford is to the left of where the trail kind of meets the creek. Just across the creek about a football field or so is Painters Camp.

Thank you Phil for taking the time to report back to everyone on your trip. For those that went out last season, you can still send in your trail reports. It is never too late and can always help in planning for next seasons trips!

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