Camping along Homestake Creek
- 6 miles along Homestake Creek downstream from Homestake Reservoir.
The goal of the Homestake Creek Restoration and Enhancement Project is to improve habitat conditions for fish as well as riparian-dependant terrestrial species (e.g., birds, beavers, insects), along a six mile segment of Homestake Creek below the Homestake Reservoir. This section of Homestake Creek was selected because it receives extremely heavy recreation pressure resulting in a diminished riparian condition. Forty-three dispersed campsites were documented between FS Road 703 and Homestake Creek. The majority of these sites are within 100 feet of Homestake Creek and in violation of the White River National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. Forest Plan standards require that campsites be located at least 100 feet from all streams, rivers, and lakes. In the past, non-compliant campsites and roads were closed using signs, however signs were removed or driven over by recreational vehicles. As a result, there has been significant loss of riparian vegetation caused by trampling, reduced bank stability and bank erosion, and a reduction in the recruitment of large woody debris from firewood cutting.
The Homestake Creek Restoration and Habitat Enhancement project will result in improved fish habitat on Forest Service Lands along six miles of Homestake Creek. Beetle killed and infested trees from the surrounding area will be used to enhance trout habitat. Several benefits to fish habitat are expected as a result of habitat enhancement practices including: increased density of large woody debris, increased flood refuge for fish during high flows (runoff), increased pool development, retention of spawning gravels, encouragement of beaver colonization, and increased shade and cover for trout. Bank restoration and riparian re-vegetation would reduce fine sediment input, increase cover and shade, stabilize stream banks, and provide an additional food source in the form of greater abundance of terrestrial insects, which comprise a large percentage of forage for trout in late summer. Riparian-dependent wildlife would also benefit from enhanced habitat.
For recreationists, an enhanced experience is expected with the completion of the project. Aesthetics would be improved by re-establishing vegetation (willows, grasses, wildflowers) into areas with tire ruts and previously denuded by campers and vehicles illegally traveling off-road. In addition, trash, which is commonly found along the creek in the project area, would be removed. Recreational fishing may indirectly benefit with improved trout habitat.