HYALITE CANYON, Mont. - Spring recreation officially kicks off as the road to one of Bozeman's most popular recreation sites opens for the season. The Forest Service opened Hyalite Canyon Road up to the dam Friday.
The rest of the roads in Hyalite are still closed because of heavy snowpack, and will open once the ice melts.
Heavy snowpack has been the theme this spring, and many rec areas around the Gallatin Valley are still closed because of it.
Robert Haigh came all the way from Three Forks to Hyalite Canyon on Friday, the day the Forest Service opened up the road from the entrance of the rec area to the dam.
"I thought the ice might be off and I'd catch a few cutthroat trout," Robert said.
But Hyalite wasn't exactly in the condition some expected. Robert said he was disappointed to learn that he couldn't get to his favorite fishing spot.
"Normally, they open the road to drive up to the head end to open the lake," he said.
While the road up to Hyalite Dam is now open, many trails and roads in the area are still closed because of ice, mud and snow.
"Because of the heavy snowfall across the entire district, we will be opening a lot of roads seasonally as they come open and as the snow melt comes off," explained Forest Service Public Affairs Specialist Mariah Lueschen.
Lueschen said Hyalite Canyon received about 130 to 150 percent of average snowfall this winter. The heavy snowpack delayed the opening of roads and other rec sites in the area, putting a damper on some spring recreation.
"If folks do want to come out and enjoy Hyalite for the day, we urge they know the conditions before they go, it is wet and muddy or snow covered," Lueschen said.
Lueschen said it is essential to be prepared in these conditions, and to respect the rules in closed areas.
"Stay behind the gates and respect that going beyond and utilizing the trails or the roads when it's wet and muddy really causes more resource damage," she said.
Although the visitors who came up to Hyalite on Friday were greeted with gates and closed roads, it didn't stop some from making the most of it.
Sam Steele was dared by a classmate to take a "polar plunge," and said it is a great way to start the summer.
"I'm just really excited for the bike trails to open back up here and do some fishing on the reservoir," he said.
As for Robert Haigh, he found a small area where the ice melted, and still got his fishing in.
"I'm going to walk down the hill to see if I can catch a couple," he said.
For updated road, trail, and campground information, call the Bozeman Ranger District at (406) 522-2520 or the 24 hour information line at (406) 522-2534.