Trails and multiple campgrounds in the San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests within Riverside County reopened Friday, but officials requested that visitors continue to exercise caution to help prevent wildfires.
“We’ve opened staff-monitored campsites that are generally right off of paved roads,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Zach Behrens told City News Service. “But there’s still no smoking allowed, and propane stoves for cooking must be in designated areas.”
According to Behrens, closures in the San Bernardino National Forest, about one third of which is in Riverside County, were lifted after rangers assessed wildfire dangers and determined the risks had decreased from a month ago.
In Riverside County, the Fern Basin and Marion Mountain campgrounds, just east of Idyllwild, are available for stays, while the Pinyon Flats camping area to the south is also accessible.
Nine developed campsites to the north in San Bernardino County are also usable.
Behrens said dispersed camping, including at isolated yellow post sites, remains prohibited.
“We’re trying to keep people in places that can be evacuated quickly if a fire breaks out,” he said.
Trails for hiking and off-road bicycling are available throughout the preserve, but Behrens pointed out that the Pacific Crest Trail between Black Mountain and Snow Creek Village is still off-limits because of the 6,200-acre Snow Fire that started on Sept. 17 and is now 95% contained.
Trails in the burn scars of the Apple and El Dorado wildfires north of the Banning Pass also remain closed.
In the Cleveland National Forest just west of Lake Elsinore, the Blue Jay and El Cariso campgrounds are now accessible, along with most of the hiking, mountain biking and off-roading paths, rangers said.
Dispersed camping remains prohibited, and officials said all recreational activities within the burn scar of the 23,000-acre Holy Fire are still not allowed. The arson blaze burned hillsides in Orange and Riverside counties in August 2018.
Both the Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests were closed on Sept. 7 because of wildfire danger. They were among 18 national forests in California that came under an emergency shutdown order issued by the U.S. Department of Interior.
Though fires continue to burn statewide, the USFS began lifting closures two weeks ago.
Additional information is available at www.fs.usda.gov/R5.