A number of popular campgrounds near Silverton will be closed until at least early July because of concerns about potential flooding.
The U.S. Forest Service said the campgrounds include five paid sites at South Mineral Campground and four designated dispersed camping areas (Kendall, Anvil, Sultan and Goldenhorn).
All the campgrounds are along South Mineral Creek on Forest Service Road 585, a popular camping area just west of Silverton.
The Forest Service said the sites are documented in a 100-year floodplain, and because of the large amount of snowpack that remains in the high country of the San Juan Mountains above 12,000 feet, officials fear for visitor safety because of potential flooding.
The closure is expected to remain in effect until July 8, and sites will remain off-limits to visitors during the July 4 holiday.
“Stream flows ... will be monitored, and the closure order could be rescinded sooner if flooding danger decreases,” the Forest Service said in a prepared statement. “The closure will remain in effect and be enforced until the order expires or is rescinded, even if signs are vandalized or stolen.”
Other dispersed camping and recreation in the South Mineral Creek area remain open for use, and the Forest Service recommends alternate camping sites at Ophir Pass Road, County Road 2, Eureka, Bureau of Land Management land north of Silverton and on Molas Pass, or Lime Creek Road.
“The Forest (Service) urges visitors to be extremely cautious when recreating in any way on or around rivers and streams this year because of higher-than-normal flows,” the agency said.