Cold spring weather will impact recreation this month

SPOKANE, Wash.– National Forest officials in the Inland Northwest are telling people to expect some more adverse conditions for Memorial Day weekend than in the past few years. The coldest spring season since 2011 means that conditions in the backcountry are weeks behind compared to an average year.

Snow is still plentiful in the higher elevations. In North Idaho, there are many areas above 5000 feet that still have over 100 inches of snow on the ground. The Cascades are also covered in a deep snowpack after a snowy April and a cool May. This is the most snow in late May since 2011 in the Spokane watershed.  In the highest elevations, snowmelt is likely to continue until at least early July before the pack is gone.

For recreation, that means travel difficulties on those narrow forest roads. The Idaho Panhandle National Forests say that there are many roads that haven’t been cleared of rocks, trees, or other debris that came down during the winter because of the lingering snow. High water is also leading to washouts in some areas. Forest officials say that you are more likely to encounter road blockages, mud, snow, and flooding this year heading to your favorite campsite.

Higher, colder, and faster water on creeks and streams will also present a higher risk of danger.  Overall, these conditions which are more typical of a few weeks earlier in the year will require you to use more caution until dry summer weather kicks in.

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