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Many Popular Recreation Areas Remain Closed After Oregon's Labor Day Fires

Last year’s wildfires destroyed thousands of acres of public land in Oregon and much of that remains closed to public access. 

As the summer recreation season approaches officials ask the public to plan ahead and check for closures.

At Delta Campground inside the Holiday Farm Fire burn area, the formerly verdant trees are blackened.  Joanie Schmidgall with the Willamette National Forest said this campground and many others may never reopen.

“One thing that we’re really working on is managing expectations,” Schmidgall said. “In that some of these places just never are going to look the same.”

She encourages people to find other places to recreate.  Darren Cross is McKenzie River district ranger with the Willamette National Forest. He said much of the areas affected by the Holiday Farm Fire remain off limits.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Darren Cross is McKenzie River District Ranger with the Willamette National Forest.

“We are trying to allow access to as much of the forest as we can that we think is safe,” Cross said. “But there are  a lot of places where there are danger trees, rock slides, things like that, all as a result of the fire that make this unsafe for the public.”

Cross said up north in the Detroit Ranger District, where the Beachie Creek Fire burned, even more areas are still closed. That’s even as people are itching to get out after being cooped up in the pandemic.

“We expect a very high recreation year, like we did last year,” Cross said. “And managing closures and access and safety and all those things is going to be even that much more complex this year.”

Link to closures on the Willamette National Forest

Copyright 2020 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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