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Snow levels could delay opening of seasonal roads In the Umatilla National Forest


PENDLETON, Ore. (April 14, 2022) — Due to remaining snow levels, the Heppner and North Fork John Day Ranger Districts of the Umatilla National Forest may not be able to open all the district roads that were closed this winter by April 16. These roads are seasonally closed each winter until April 15 to protect wildlife during the season when they are most impacted by disturbance. Because of the late season snow, Forest Service employees may not be able to access and open some of the gates. 

All roads on the district that were seasonally closed for wildlife protection will be opened as conditions permit. Information about the Forest’s open road system can be found on the Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs), which are free of charge and available at any forest office or on the forest website. Additionally, the MVUMs can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet via the Avenza app or the Pacific Northwest Forests app. Cross-country travel is prohibited under the forest’s travel management plan.

Much of the Umatilla National Forest is still not accessible due to mud, snow or snow drifts. As a result, the public won’t necessarily be able to travel on all the same roads that typically are accessible this time of year. In addition, traveling on thawing, saturated, and muddy roads can result in resource damage and serious safety concerns, especially if visitors are unprepared. Forest conditions are dynamic this time of year and likely to change rapidly. The public is encouraged to plan ahead and contact their local ranger district prior to starting their trip.

As a reminder, many places in the Blue Mountains have limited or no cell phone coverage. Forest visitors should always be prepared to spend the night in the forest with warm clothing, food and plenty of water. Before heading out, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

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