Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Andi Bourne

Lolo National Forest closes all campgrounds, cabins and lookouts


Effective March 28, all Lolo National Forest campgrounds, rental cabins and lookouts will be temporarily closed through April 30 or until the order is rescinded. The health and safety of visitors, as well as Forest Service employees and volunteers, is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forest is working to meet the social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The closures will not impact Lolo National Forest trails, trailheads, recreation areas, dispersed camping sites or lake access sites including Big Larch boat launch which remain open at this time. However, all outhouses/toilets located at these areas and throughout the Forest will be closed, based on CDC guidelines and recommendations for cleaning public facilities.

“We realize the outdoors is a place of refuge for many during this time; however, for the good of the community and for the safety of all, the best course of action is to close these sites until it’s safe to reopen them,” stated Carolyn Upton, Forest Supervisor. 

Closures on the Seeley Lake Ranger District include: Big Larch Campground, Big Nelson Campground, Double Arrow Lookout cabin rental, Lake Alva Campground, Lake Inez Campground, Lakeside Campground, Monture Creek Campground, Monture Cabin, River Point Campground, Seeley Lake Campground, Double Arrow Lookout, Rainy Lake Campground, Monture Cabin and Hidden Lake Campground. Notification to cabin and lookout renters will be made as soon as possible and refunds will be processed through 

Forest managers would like to remind visitors to adopt a pack-it-in and pack-it-out mentality as trash services may be limited during this time, especially packing out dog waste in areas around Missoula. Garbage service will not be available at Maclay Flat, Blue Mountain, Pattee Canyon, Rattlesnake Recreation Area and Ferry Landing.

“We are asking for the public to recreate responsibly, be good stewards of the land and importantly, adhere to social distancing guidelines when out in the forest,” added Upton.

Visitor centers such as Savenac Historic Tree Nursery and Ninemile Historic Remount Depot are currently closed for the season and are regularly scheduled to open at the end of May. The status of these facilities will be evaluated in the coming weeks.

Keep in mind that law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to the COVID-19 issues. High-risk activities such as rock climbing, etc. or backcountry activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.

The Forest continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation. Health and safety continues to be the Forest’s number one priority as they work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing environment. They are committed to supporting their communities and fulfilling their mission as they all work together to minimize the impact and spread of the virus.

For a complete list of campgrounds and site closures visit: or contact the local District office. For the Seeley Lake Ranger District call 406-677-2233.


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