PENDLETON — The Umatilla National Forest has temporarily reclosed a portion of Forest Service Road (FSR) 54 due to road damage caused by the recent rainfall and flooding. FSR 54, also known as Pearson Creek Road, is located approximately 10 miles southeast of Pilot Rock.
The closure begins at milepost 1.5, near the intersection of East Birch Creek Road, south to the installed gate just east of the intersection of Forest Service Roads 54 and 5411.
Closure barriers and signs will be posted on the ground and visitors can take alternative routes into the area, including FSR 54 north from Highway 244 near Ukiah or FSR 5427 near Indian Lake. Detailed closure maps and updates on flood repair activities are available on the Forest website and at any Forest office.
FSR 54, which is a popular access route into the North Fork John Day Ranger District of the Umatilla National Forest, was initially damaged in the May 21, 2020, flood event. The North Fork John Day Ranger District temporarily closed 13 miles of FSR 54 following the flood event. Between 2020 and the recent flooding over the past few weeks, Forest officials had restored access to 4.5 miles of FSR 54 through two different phases of contract work. Road repairs in early 2021 restored road conditions in the residential portion of FSR 54 between East Birch Creek and milepost 0.6. The second phase of road repairs restored access to milepost 4.5 within the Umatilla National Forest.
Forest Service staff are assessing on-the-ground damage to develop repair plans for reopening FSR 54. Additional updates will be shared as work progresses and the road closure will be lifted as repairs are complete.
With continued rain in the forecast, Forest officials also advise the public to use caution when traveling in the Forest, as roads and trails could be impacted by washouts or obstructions (such as rocks or boulders). Forest conditions can be dynamic this time of year and likely to change throughout the day and week. Visitors should plan ahead and contact their local ranger district prior to starting their trip. 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, personal hygiene items, and plenty of water. The public is encouraged to monitor the Umatilla National Forest Facebook page and website for updates on forest conditions and flood repair activities.
More information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.