FEATHERVILLE — Don’t plan to spend your Labor Day weekend camping at Baumgartner Campground.
Construction work using heavy equipment and large trucks is underway in the popular campground, situated along the South Fork of the Boise River east of Featherville. Citing safety concerns, the Sawtooth National Forest’s Fairfield Ranger District closed Baumgartner Campground to all public entry until the asphalt contractor’s work is complete.
“Our best estimate is that they will be done by Labor Day weekend,” forest officials posted on social media Monday morning. “At that time the campground will remain closed to camping and motor vehicle entry, but we will once again allow walk-in public access to the hot pool.”
In a major remodeling, the Sawtooth National Forest last year widened many of Baumgartner Campground’s parking sites to accommodate bigger recreational vehicles and rerouted footpaths through the campground. It also added four new campsites, with new picnic tables and fire rings, to replace sites closed after the 2013 Kelley Fire because of the potential for falling rocks.
Baumgartner Campground has 39 campsites. Both day users and overnight campers may use the small developed pool supplied by geothermal hot springs.
The Sawtooth forest broke its Baumgartner work into phases — over multiple years — so it wouldn’t have to close the campground during the busy season. After repaving all the asphalt roads and camp spurs, the forest plans to replace the campground’s entire water system and install new wooden picnic tables, fire rings and metal utility tables at the rest of the campsites. Also on the wish list: handicapped-accessible restrooms and picnicking improvements to the day use area around the pool.