Storm Damage Delays Oregon Campgrounds Opening
Spring’s technically here, but outdoor lovers eager to visit their favorite campground in Oregon's Middle Fork Ranger District may have to hold off until at least Memorial Day weekend, the Eugene Register-Guard reported.
Violent windstorms in March knocked down nearly 150 trees, leaving picnic tables snapped in half, logs blocking service roads and debris scattered around four popular campgrounds. Because of safety concerns, the four campgrounds, which typically open by early May, will be closed at least until Memorial Day weekend in late May.
The affected campgrounds are Black Canyon near Westfir on Highway 58, and Broken Bowl, Bedrock and Puma, all east of Fall Creek Lake off Forest Service Road 18.
The closures include access to bathrooms, boat ramps and camping sites. Every effort is being made to open these campgrounds by Memorial Day weekend.
“Safety of the public is our first concern,” Forest Service spokeswoman Katie Isacksen said. “We realize these are highly popular areas for camping, but we need people to understand there are just too many hazards at this point.”
Isacksen said crews have begun surveying the damage and are expected to remove trees in the affected campgrounds in the next week or two. Crews have already started removing trees blocking roadways, she said.
Rangers are suggesting that campers don’t abandon the area this spring but instead consider other campgrounds that weren’t affected by the March storms, including Dolly Varden and Big Pool east of Fall Creek Lake.
To clean up the affected campgrounds, and to pay for the damages and the cleanup crews, the district will conduct two salvage sales where interested parties can buy fallen timber. Isacksen estimated that more than 200,000 board feet will be available.
Firewood permits for the salvage areas will not be issued until after the campgrounds are restored. Residents looking for firewood are advised to call the Middle Fork Ranger District for more information; interested campers can check the status and cleanup process at the Willamette National Forest website.