Tahoe National Forest officials are advising visitors to act quickly if they want to secure a campsite for the Labor Day holiday.
"This is one of the big weekends of the summer, and campgrounds, picnic sites and trail systems are expected to be busy," forest spokeswoman Ann Westling said Monday.
Westling advised making reservations for the most popular campgrounds. Many have some first-come, first-served sites, but it would be best to arrive Thursday or Friday if one is hoping to secure one of those, she said.
Most campsites can be reserved online at www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777.
All recreation sites in the forest will be open for the holiday, but the forest is very dry this summer and visitors are urged to be especially careful with fires, Westling said.
Fire restrictions are in effect, limiting campfires to developed campgrounds. In the backcountry, portable propane stoves can be used with a free campfire permit that's available at all Forest Service offices.
New this year at many campgrounds are bear-resistant food lockers, which have been "very successful – virtually eliminating bear problems," forest supervisor Tom Quinn said in a news release.
"But we need everyone's help to ensure that food is placed in the lockers, rather than leaving it in a vehicle, their tent or on the table," Quinn said.
Westling provided the following information on specific camping areas:
Bullards Bar – Campgrounds at the reservoir are open. Recreation and reservation information can be found at the Emerald Cove Marina at www.bullardsbar.com or (530) 692-3200.
North Yuba River – There are some first-come, first-served sites, but they fill up quickly. The sites farther east on Highway 49 are often more available on a holiday weekend. The sites near Sierra Buttes fill up fast as well. For more information, contact the Yuba River Ranger Station (530) 288-3231.
East of Nevada City, along Interstate 80 – Some of these campgrounds are expected to have first-come, first-served sites available. Call (530) 265-4531 for more information.
Truckee and Sierraville – Campgrounds and day-use sites are expected to be full. The most popular sites are those near reservoirs. As campgrounds fill near Truckee, others farther north are often available. For additional information, contact ranger stations in Truckee, (530) 587-3558, or Sierraville, (530) 994-3401.
East of Foresthill – Sugar Pine campgrounds are expected to be very busy. People without reservations are advised to arrive by Thursday or Friday at the latest. French Meadows Reservoir usually has more first-come, first-served sites available.
The area for off-highway vehicles is dusty and people are advised to bring dust masks and lots of drinking water. Traffic may be congested in Foresthill, as the Heritage Festival is celebrated Saturday and Sunday and people are asked to drive slowly through town.
For additional information, contact the American River Ranger Station, (530) 367-2224.
More information on Tahoe National Forest recreation areas can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe or by calling forest headquarters at (530) 265-4531.