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Umatilla National Forest Prepares for Memorial Weekend

PENDLETON— Memorial weekend traditionally kicks off summer recreation season on the Umatilla National Forest and many are planning their annual trek to the mountains to enjoy nature.

With that in mind, forest visitors are cautioned that not all roads, trails and campgrounds are open, particularly this year with the late season snow. Shaded areas and cut banks on roads at higher elevations may still have impassible snowdrifts. Most hiking and motorized trails have not yet been maintained. 

Forest crews are working to open lower elevation recreation sites and campgrounds that are accessible in time for the Memorial weekend, but some campgrounds will remain closed for the holiday weekend. 

“Our first focus is to address hazard tree removal and other safety issues before our campgrounds can open to the public,” said Shane Dittlinger, Forest Recreation Program Manager. 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.”

The campgrounds that will open for the holiday weekend include: Alder Thicket, Bear Wallow, Bull Prairie Lake, Coalmine Hill, Drift Fence, Driftwood, Divide Well, Fairview, Frazier, Forest Boundary, Gold Dredge, Ladybug, Lane Creek, North Fork John Day, Oriental, Panjab, Pataha, Penland Lake, Tollbridge, Tucannon, and Welch Creek. 

Campgrounds remaining closed for the holiday weekend include: Big Creek Meadows, Big Springs, Godman, Jubilee Lake, Mottet, Midway, Misery, Olive Lake, Target Meadows, Teal Spring, Umatilla Forks, Wickiup, Winom, Woodward and Woodland. 

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. 

The Umatilla National Forest offers campsite reservations at Bull Prairie Lake, Jubilee Lake, North Fork John Day and Olive Lake campgrounds. Individual campsites can be reserved through https://www.recreation.gov. Reservations made through recreation.gov will include an $8 transaction fee in addition to the campsite fee. All other campgrounds on the Forest remain available as first-come, first-served.

To ensure 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.

Some roads and trails are closed in areas with significant flood damage from the 2020 February and May flood events. Detailed closure maps and updates on flood repair activities are available on the Forest website and at any Forest office. Closure signs will also be posted on the ground.

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

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