With the Fourth fast approaching, many are making plans to spend their holiday weekend recreating on the Umatilla National Forest, so officials are offering tips and information to help keep the weekend safe and enjoyable:
Fireworks and forests don't mix.
Forest regulations prohibit possessing, discharging, or using any kind of fireworks, including sparklers and smoke bombs, on National Forest lands," said Brian Goff, Umatilla National Forest fire staff officer, in a news release. Violators will be fined and, if found responsible for starting a forest fire, can be held liable for costly fire suppression expenses. "Also, forest fuels are drying quickly so please be careful with campfires, cigarettes and chain saws," Goff said.
Though most Umatilla National Forest campgrounds are open and operating, several popular sites will be closed for the holiday weekend.
Misery and Wickiup campgrounds on the Pomeroy Ranger District are closed due to snow. Woodward Campground and Umatilla Forks Campgrounds on the Walla Walla Ranger District will remain closed while repairs are made to the water systems.
Recreation staff is working to open Jubilee Lake Campground in time for the weekend. "We had to plow through a few snow drifts to open access into the site," said Jeff Bloom, recreation manager for the Walla Walla Ranger District, in the release. "We're clearing hazard trees and working on getting the water system running. We hope to have the campground open Friday, July 1, though it might be late afternoon before we can allow the public to enter," said Bloom.
Forest road access
Warmer weather has helped open access to the forest though snow drifts still block through travel on many forest roads. The public can expect to encounter snowdrifts in shaded areas above 5,000 feet.
Forest Road 10 on the North Fork John Day Ranger District is closed due to a washout at the confluence of Bruin Creek and Desolation Creek (mile post 12). The road will remain closed until repairs are completed later this summer. Forest Road 1010 can be used as an alternative route though travelers should be aware that this road is maintained for "High Clearance Vehicles" only and not suitable for passenger car or low clearance trailer/RV travel.
Access to the Desolation and Olive Lake areas from the east will also be available from these locations in Oregon:
Ukiah, via Forest Roads 52, 73 and 10
Granite, via Forest Road 73 and 10
Starkey, via Forest Road 51 (once the snow clears), 73 and 10
Construction is underway on the replacement of the North Fork John Day Bridge, approximately eight miles north of Granite, OR, along Forest Road 73. Users may experience minor delays of about five minutes along this portion of the Elkhorn Scenic Byway.
The 2.5 mile stretch of Forest Road 5506 from Oriental Creek Campground to Big Creek and the North Fork John Day River Trailhead is washed out and accessible by foot travel only.
For more information
For more information about the current status of Forest campgrounds, trails and roads, contact the Umatilla National Forest offices or go to www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla
Supervisor's Officer Pendleton (541) 278-3716
Heppner Ranger District Heppner (541) 676-9187
North Fork John Day Ranger District Ukiah (541) 427-3231
Pomeroy Ranger District Pomeroy (509) 843-1891
Walla Walla Ranger District Walla Walla (509) 522-6290