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Late snow pushes back opening of some campgrounds

Picture of camping
Natalie Jablonski

Late season snowfalls and wet conditions have left 53 campgrounds across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest with campsites that are unsafe and unfit for people to use.

Dan Eklund, a ranger with the USDA forest service explains; "We have to go into those campgrounds and assess do we have trees that are dead, dying or damaged in such a way that they would be hazardous to a camper if they were in there and the winds came up or we had a thunderstorm roll in."

Eklund says, even for the Northwoods, it's not all that common to have to push back opening day into later May, adding he's only seen it happen five or six times in his 20 years on the job.

Aside from hazard trees and other issues that pose danger, campers likely would not even be able to get into many of the campgrounds if they tried.

"A lot of the trees along the access roads are folded in or leaning over and you have these snow pillows from the plowing events now sitting on the side of the road, so you have a very narrow corridor until that snow melts down.

In addition to the clean up, crews must make sure everything is in working order.

"We have wells that have to be tested for portable safety and take care of broke pipes and those kind of things so that the septic systems are functioning."

He says he's proud of their staff for how hard they work on this year round effort, and has a message for all who are itching to camp; "We understand you're eager. We're eager as well! But please just be patient with us. We are moving as fast as we can to get things ready so we can welcome you up here to use your national forest."

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