BEND– In anticipation of a busy President’s Day holiday weekend, the Deschutes National Forest is warning winter recreationists of modest snow conditions that vary from icy and slushy to completely bare in lower elevation areas.
While Central Oregon has snow in the higher elevations, conditions remain poor at 6,000 feet and below with 30% of average yearly snowpack according to the Natural Resources Conservation Services’s three SNOTEL sites. Winter recreationists, particularly motorized users, will likely have to manage safety concerns due to poor trail conditions with significant exposure to dirt, mud and open water on creeks and streams. Conditions like these not only detract from positive recreation experiences but also raise the potential for personal injury and equipment damage, in addition to causing resource damage. Forest officials will continue to monitor snow conditions to protect our Central Oregon forest resource from significant damage. If the Forest does not receive significant snowfall in the coming weeks, sno-park facilities and trails could be closed until conditions improve.
Snowpack at Dutchman Sno-park is at 50% of average levels and parking is very limited. Visitors are reminded to only utilize available spaces and keep signed parking spaces free for emergency vehicles including ambulances, Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers and police. If these regulations are not followed, law enforcement officers could issue warnings or citations.
Recreationists and visitors to Central Oregon are reminded that there are many different opportunities to enjoy the Deschutes National Forest including skiing at Mt. Bachelor and hiking and biking on lower elevation trails. Motorized travel enthusiasts have opportunities to ride ATVs and OHVs on the eastern side of the forest. The public is encouraged to be responsive to these poor snow conditions, plan ahead for this holiday weekend and check out alternative recreating opportunities on the forest.