The federal Bureau of Reclamation plans to open two-thirds of its Hyatt Lake Complex campground Friday, a month later than normal because of the federal sequester's budget cuts and hiring freezes.
Two of the campground's three loops will be open and four of its six bathrooms will be unlocked around the southwest part of the reservoir, located in the Greensprings east of Ashland.
Tests on the water and sewer facilities came back fine, clearing the last hurdle the U.S. Bureau of Land Management recreation managers needed to open the popular campground, BLM spokesman Jim Whittington said Monday.
Since mid-April, only the two boat ramps at the BLM complex have been open. The campground normally opens on the week before the fourth Saturday in April — the traditional opening day of trout fishing at Hyatt Lake.
The federal sequester's across-the-board budget cuts and hiring freeze earlier this year came as the district had hired fewer than 20 of the more than 60 summer workers who help manage the district's recreation sites. The sites include more than a dozen trails, four campgrounds, seven waysides or overlooks and other amenities in Jackson and Josephine counties.
The district recently sought and won waivers to hire nine additional summer employees, who will be added in the coming weeks, said Jeanne Klein, who heads the BLM's Medford District recreation program.
The BLM's popular Table Rocks interpretive hikes have been slashed by 20 percent and hikers will need to pack out all their own garbage there and at other recreation sites as the agency seeks to spread its thin summer workforce around.
Also, Elderberry Campground on the West Fork of Evans Creek will remain closed with no plan yet for its opening, Whittington said.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or email at email@example.com.