Two recently closed areas popular for dispersed camping on the Western Divide Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest have partially reopened. Delineated sections of Upper Peppermint and the area known as Camp 5 have been cleared of hazards, cleaned up, and are now open to overnight camping.
These two sites each have about a dozen camping spots open to overnight use. They are undeveloped with NO amenities (trash service, bathrooms or running water) and free of charge. “We strongly encourage visitors to pack it in, pack it out and respect the site boundaries to help keep these places clean and open to the public,” stated District Ranger Eric LaPrice.
Seven dispersed camping areas above Springville were closed in late May: Upper Peppermint, Camps 1- 6 along the Lloyd Meadow Road, and Thompson Camp. “With a steady increase in popularity, these sites have been negatively impacted by exceedingly high numbers of visitors and their vehicles. People were continually pushing farther into the vegetation, creating more bare ground and resource problems.” stated LaPrice. “Scattered trash, human waste, trampled vegetation, abandoned campfires, compacted soil, user created roads, and dead trees are what caused these areas to be closed to protect the public. The hazard trees have been removed and barriers have been placed for closed sections.”
Only a portion of Upper Peppermint and Camp 5 have been re-opened, the remainder of those sites and other dispersed areas closed in May will remain closed under Forest Order. Barriers have been placed to stop visitors from driving into or camping in closed areas. Walk-in access to Peppermint Creek is available at Upper Peppermint; the closure boundary is 50 feet from Peppermint Creek providing river access.
Dispersed camping is readily available in other parts of the District, unless posted otherwise. Please be aware of dead trees that could fall at any time blocking the road. To stay in a developed campground, managed by California Land Management, reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 or log into www.recreation.gov at least three days in advance of your stay.
Fire restrictions are in effect across the Forest, limiting campfires to developed sites. Propane stoves are allowed with a Campfire Permit. Permits can be obtained at any Forest Service, CALFIRE or Bureau of Land Management office, or at www.preventwildfireca.org. For the most up to date information, contact the Western Divide Ranger District (559) 539-2607. Office hours Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.