Picnic tables sit ready and waiting for campers at Timber Creek (Courtesy photos)

Picnic tables sit ready and waiting for campers at Timber Creek (Courtesy photos)

Despite being stuck in the middle of a desert state, the National Forest Service, Ely district encompasses over one million acres of land. That type of space is as big as some national parks. Martina Barnes, the Acting District Ranger for Ely Ranger District says that there is a lot to see in a million acres. And that part of the fun is getting back out into nature and experiencing it first hand, away from the distractions of the city.

“Many of the campsites provide a very solitary experience in that you can hear the sound of the creek, hear the sound of the water flowing and the birds chirping or the wind blowing through the trees. It is a really peaceful camping experience,” Barnes said.

Those looking for a little more social setting while out in the wilderness should check out Ward Mountain, the District Ranger said, as it offers larger camping spots and for groups a “slightly less isolated experience.”

Each of the six camping grounds that are within the Ely Ranger District are just a 30 minute drive from the

Picnic tables sit ready and waiting for campers at Bird Creek during the hight of camping season.

Picnic tables sit ready and waiting for campers at Bird Creek during the hight of camping season.

City of Ely. That means that those families looking to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors have six more reasons to do so said Barnes, and the Forest Service is ready to help them all out.

“We are definitely entering into our peak camping season for the year so I would recommend that anyone who would like to stay at one of our camp sites go online and reserve a space using www.recreation.gov,” Barnes said.

Timber Creek is also set to be rennovated this fall said Barnes. The Forest Service is teaming up with a Carson City based wildfire crew called the Black Mountain Hotshots to help with a large scale vegetation removal project.

To keep the different camping locations beautiful from one camper to the next however, Barnes said that first time campers or those who just haven’t “roughed it” in a while should keep a few things in mind. Campers should know what government agency to contact based on what land they are staying and what they might encounter. Any of these six campgrounds fall on the Forest Service’s control: Ward Mountain, Timber Creek, Bird Creek, East Creek, Berry Creek and Kalamazoo.

“The general public often doesn’t care what agency the land belongs to when they go camping because it can be confusing but it is good to know in case something happens,” she said.

Campfires are only permitted to be lit in the designated fire pits and several of the camping locations will have Forest Service employees on hand on the weekends to make sure campers are not breaking any camp ground rules, such as setting off fireworks.

“We want to make sure that everyone is safe and having a good time while also insuring that we do our best to preserve the grounds for future visitors,” the District Ranger said.

The Forest Service office in Ely also provides permits for firewood ($20 minimum for 4 cords), forest maps ($10 each), Christmas tree permits, America the Beautiful passes for all USFS, National Park Service and BLM sites, though visitors should always call beforehand to verify that they accept this pass ($80 annual fee, reduced fee of $10 for seniors and free for those with a military ID).

Also encompassed in the 1,024,357 acres in the Ely Forest Service District are 561,802 wilderness acres, which are protected by law under the National Wilderness Preservation  System. Those areas are: Quinn Canyon, Grant Range, Currant Mountain, Mt. Moriah, High Schells, Red Mountain, Schellback, White Pine, and Bald Mountain.