Campfire programs begin NPS staff gears up for summer season

The staff at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area has been gearing up for the 2013 season and will begin weekly campfire programs this Saturday, June 1, Chief Interpreter Christy Fleming announced this weekend.

On Friday, June 7, Ranger Williams will give a presentation titled “The Fur Trade and Mountain Men” during which he will present information about the fur trade in the west. During the program, Williams will demonstrate how the Hawken Rifle is fired.

The next night, June 8, Ranger John Kissner will present the legend of Big Metal – a story handed down through the generations by the Crow People. The legend explains how Big Horn Canyon and Big Horn Lake got their names.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area will continue the campfire programs throughout the summer, giving programs on most Friday and Saturday nights at Horseshoe Bend. Programs at Fort Smith will begin in mid-June, Fleming said, and run through mid-August.

Visit the Bighorn Canyon NRA Visitor Center in Lovell for more information about the programs.

Facilities work

Along with planning and organizing the campfire program, Bighorn Canyon NRA has been preparing lake facilities for the summer season. Some services have been delayed, but all courtesy docks are in place on the lake, and the concession docks are in at Horseshoe Bend and Ok-A-Beh. Docks are also in at Black Canyon and Day Board 9.

There are no working docks at Medicine Creek yet, Fleming said, noting that the lake must reach an elevation of 3,636 for the dock to float. The lake was at 3,630 on Tuesday, Fleming said, adding that people are welcome to beach their boat near the dock.

The floating restroom is in at Dryhead, but Fleming said the restroom at Devil Canyon has been taken out of service.

There is no fuel service available at this time at the Ok-A-Beh or Horseshoe Bend marinas.

Fleming said the Park Service staff has been receiving many positive comments about the campground work near Barry’s Landing at the Trail Creek Campground. Campsites were renovated last summer and fall, and only a little work remains, which will be taken care of by local Boy Scouts.

“They’re really nice, and people should come out and see them,” Fleming said. “They reconfigured them so they’re a lot like the Horseshoe Bend sites.”

Improvements included new timbers to outline the sites, larger trailer sites and new tent pads for the tent sites. Four new sites were built adjacent to the Barry’s Landing parking lot, two of which overlook the lake.

Work yet to be done includes two more fire rings, some tent pads and new lantern hangers.

Summer hours are in effect at the Cal S. Taggart Visitor Center near Lovell. The center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

By David Peck