Bear Camp Road open for holiday travelers

Bear Camp Road traversing the Siskiyou Mountains between the remote Rogue River outposts of Galice and Agness is open and available to Memorial Day travelers.

Federal land managers on Tuesday had recommended motorists avoid the one-lane road with turnouts because up to 6 inches of snow was expected to fall there by Wednesday morning.

Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management engineers confirmed late Wednesday that only 1 to 2 inches of snow fell at the road's highest elevations, and it was melting rapidly.

That led federal land managers Thursday to lift the recommendation against using the road.

Anyone who travels Bear Camp Road or other high-mountain backroads during spring and fall seasons should be prepared to carry extra food, water and warm clothing. Also, make sure someone not traveling with you knows your travel plans and expected arrival and return times.

Bear Camp Road was the route taken by the Kim family of San Francisco during a November 2006 snowstorm. The family was stranded for nearly a week before James Kim set out on foot to find help. He was found dead from hypothermia.

His wife and two children were rescued.

The road receives regular use from people traveling between the Rogue Valley and Gold Beach or Agness, a fishing burg 27 river miles from the ocean.

More spring chinook salmon were recycled in the Rogue River this week as a good early return of spring chinook to Cole Rivers Hatchery continued.

Hatchery technicians Wednesday trucked and released 269 spring chinook at the Gold Hill boat ramp, upping to 971 the number of springers recycled this year.

The goal is to get 4,000 excess fish recycled into the Rogue by July 1, hatchery Manager David Pease says.

The recycled, fin-clipped fish have a hole punched in their gill plates, and the fish can be kept as part of the daily limit of two fin-clipped hatchery fish.

After Tuesday's collection, 1,596 spring chinook have reached the hatchery collection pond this year. That's well over the 10-year average of 611 springers for this week in May.

St. Mary's School bass angler Jacob Wall finished in the top third of the field in his first professional tournament last weekend in California, but he failed to make it into the finals.

Wall, 18, of Jacksonville, placed 39th out of 124 co-anglers fishing with pros at the FLW Everstart Series on the Sacramento River Delta.

A slow first day on May 16 saw Wall catch four bass that weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces. He followed that up the next day with five fish totalling 14 pounds, 4 ounces, for a two-day total of 19 pounds, 6 ounces.

Only the top 10 co-anglers fished Saturday's finals.

A slew of Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest campgrounds opened this week in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Farewell Bend and Union Creek campgrounds along Highway 62 are open, as are Abbott Creek, Hamaker, Whiskey Springs and Fourbit Ford campgrounds.

Also open are the Fish Lake and Doe Point campgrounds off Highway 140 at Fish Lake.

No reservations are needed at these campgrounds, which are operated by concessionaire Rogue Recreation, Inc. under agreements with the U.S. Forest Service.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or

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