Some parts of Siuslaw National Forest to reopen, many sites remain closed; campfire restrictions remain in place

Corvallis, OR: Officials are preparing to reopen some parts of the Siuslaw National Forest at noon Friday, September 18, as weather patterns help reduce fire danger, though campfire restrictions remain in place. Many recreation sites will remain temporarily closed as staff continue to assess and mitigate safety hazards following the historic wind storm on Labor Day, which left downed trees and hanging limbs in recreation sites and on roads across the forest. 


"It was a historic confluence of events that necessitated closing the forest last week," said Robert Sanchez, forest supervisor. "The extreme dryness coupled with a rare and damaging east wind event created a dangerous situation for the public, our employees, and emergency responders. Our team is challenged by reduced staffing this year due to Covid, a number of employees assisting on emergencies throughout the state, and other employees who have had to evacuate their homes due to fire, but we're working to reopen our sites as fast as it's safe to do so."


The general forest area, which are those parts of the forest outside of developed recreation sites, and most forest roads will reopen at noon Friday, while most developed recreation sites such as campgrounds, trailheads, and day use sites, including at Marys Peak, will stay closed. At the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, dispersed use will be permitted and some developed day use sites will open; many other day use sites, plus all campgrounds and sand camps, at the dunes will remain closed at this time. The Sand Lake Recreation Area will open, with all campgrounds operating on a first-come, first-served basis. Many parts of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area will remain closed while staff work to mitigate hazards from hundreds of downed trees. As fire danger remains high, public use restrictions on campfires and other possible ignition sources continues to be in effect.


Before leaving home, visitors must check online or by phone to find out which recreation sites are open; this list will be updated regularly as recreation sites reopen. Travelers should be prepared to find debris and possibly downed trees on lesser used and spur roads and should be aware of possible hazards, such as dangling limbs, in forested areas.


Due to Covid-19, Siuslaw National Forest offices are conducting the majority of public business by phone, email, or through web-based transactions. Members of the public should call to schedule an appointment to conduct any critical in-person business.