Starting this week, the Bitterroot National Forest will start a phased reopening of campsites and rental properties, with a goal of having most of the facilities open for the Memorial Day weekend of May 30. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot Forest said that Gold Creek and Black Bear Campgrounds will be open Friday, May 8th, along with some other less developed campgrounds. There will be limited services, however. The rule - "Pack it in, pack it out." The openings are actually almost at the same times as usual spring openings, with work currently being completed by recreation crews. Trails and trailheads remain open, as they have been during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, avoid congregating at trailheads, and no groups of 10 or more. Follow the CDC guidelines and Montana restrictions for social distancing and facemasks.

Rental facilities will start opening on May 17, based on facility conditions. Those people who logged on to Recreation.gov for reservations for rental cabins and lookouts will be notified by email or cell phone text if there are changes to their reservation. McKay said that, as it has been in past years, rentals and lookouts will not be cleaned between uses. That's up to the renters to bring their own cleaning supplies and clean before they leave.

Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Matt Anderson said, in a news release, "We thank everyone for their patience as we work to reopen these sites and we continue to urge everyone to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe."