Pendleton, OR: Memorial weekend traditionally kicks off summer recreation season on the Umatilla National Forest and, with the unseasonably warm and dry weather conditions this spring, areas of the forest are opening up earlier than usual.
With that in mind, forest visitors are cautioned that not all roads, trails are campgrounds are open. Shaded areas and cut banks on roads at higher elevations may still have impassible snowdrifts. Most hiking and motorized trails have had little or no maintenance. In addition, some campgrounds may be accessible but will remain closed for the holiday weekend.
Forest crews are working to open lower elevation recreation sites and campgrounds in time for the Memorial weekend. “Our first focus is to address hazard tree removal and other safety issues before our campgrounds can open to the public,” said Larry Randall, Forest Recreation Staff Officer. Some campgrounds will open but provide limited services for the weekend. Basic clean-up and start-up activities may not be completed in time so campground conditions will vary. “Our seasonal workforce is still coming on so we’re working really hard with the limited number of employees we do have on staff,” said Randall.
Some of the more popular campgrounds that will open for the holiday weekend include: Alder Thicket, Bear Wallow, Big Creek Meadows, Big Springs, Boundary, Bull Prairie Lake, Driftwood, Frazier, Godman, Gold Dredge, Lane Creek, North Fork John Day, Oriental, Pataha, Panjab, Tollbridge, Tucannon, Umatilla Forks, and Winom.
Most campgrounds charge a fee ranging from $8 to $24 per night. Other fees may be imposed for additional vehicles parked at a single campsite.
Campgrounds remaining closed for the holiday weekend include Divide Well, Drift Fence, Fairview, Jubilee Lake, Midway, Misery, Olive Lake, Penland Lake, Target Meadows, Welch Creek, Wickiup, Woodward and Woodland.
To insure a safe and successful weekend trip, recreationists are urged to:
· Contact the local Ranger District office before you head out to make sure the area you’re traveling to is accessible.
· Avoid driving off the road and onto wet, unstable ground. Look for pull-offs in rocky, well-drained areas.
· Be extremely careful with your campfire and never leave a campfire unattended.
· Obtain a Motorized Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the area you’re visiting if you plan to ride ATVs, OHVs or motorcycles.
· Be prepared. Pack additional food, water, clothing and other emergency supplies.
· Let someone know your destination and estimated time of return. Cell phone service is often unavailable in the mountains.
For additional information about the status of Forest campgrounds, trails and roads, please contact any Umatilla National Forest office or visit the website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.
Supervisor’s Officer Pendleton, OR (541) 278-3716
Heppner Ranger District Heppner, OR (541) 676-9187
North Fork John Day Ranger District Ukiah, OR (541) 427-3231
Pomeroy Ranger District Pomeroy, WA (509) 843-1891
Walla Walla Ranger District Walla Walla, WA (509) 522-6290