Providing Service during COVID-19

An advisory urging people to stay home durign pandemic, a forest trail in the background.

 

PROVIDING SERVICE DURING COVID-19

Updated May 26, 2020 - For our safety and yours, all Umatilla National Forest offices are restricted for public access at this time.  In addition, to align with the direction from the state governors phased re-opening approach, some developed recreation sites, including campgrounds and rental cabins are also closed. All Umatilla National Forest trailheads, Sno-Parks, boat ramps and day-use areas are opened. Forest roads, trails, and general forest lands are also still open for public use.  

Developed Recreation Closure FAQ's

 

Additional Closures:

In partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Umatilla National Forest has temporarily closed the Tucannon River Road (Forest Service Road 47) on the Pomeroy Ranger District to be consistent with Washington state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” executive order that closed state campgrounds and ponds along this road.

  

SERVICES AVAILABLE ONLINE, BY PHONE AND EMAIL

General Information: (541) 278-3716

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Maps: https://store.usgs.gov or http://www.discovernw.org/

Passes and Permits: http://www.discovernw.org/

Email us at: r6_umatilla_public_inquiries@fs.fed.us

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19. 

The health and safety of visitors as well as Forest Service employees, volunteers, and partners is paramount.  Popular sites on the Forest may draw visitors that exceed the latest recommendations for social distancing guidelines.  We ask that visitors practice Know Before You Go principles and avoid high concentration areas on the Forest to help us slow the spread of COVID-19.

*As a reminder many of our campgrounds are inaccessible at this time due to snow. Some roads and trails are also closed due to flood damage.  For more information on current closure due to flood damage click here.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the closure necessary?

The decision to close is a difficult one. Recreation provides physical and mental health benefits. Unfortunately, too many people were not following recent safety guidelines while out on our landscapes. At this time, it is extremely important that we follow the direction of scientists and doctors to stay home except for essential needs.

Isn’t being out in the wilderness safer than being elsewhere?

In some ways, yes, but other people also think so. When everyone heads to their favorite recreation area, suddenly people are parking together, sharing facilities, passing on the trail. Closing access is a significant step, but it’s necessary and temporary. The sooner people follow stay home direction, the sooner we can welcome folks back.

Why is camping closed?

Campgrounds bring people together and that is why we cherish outdoor adventure. However, this creates a potentially unsafe setting. Visitors stay for days at a time, cook and eat in close proximity, share restroom facilities, and have limited resources for following disinfection and hand washing recommendations.

We weighed many scenarios, and came to the conclusion that the most effective course is to fully close camping for now. We recognize that this will create additional challenges for some people, however, it is imperative that we take action to limit risk and exposure for everyone.

What is a developed recreation site?

A deveoped reacreation site is an area or location that has been improved for the purpose of proving a recreational oppurtunity.  This includes, but isn't exclusive to, all trailheads, picnic areas, visitor centers, interpretive sites, boat launches, OHV staging areas, and campgrounds. Developed recreation sites may be a complex of sites and their access roads, or could be a trail that has some improvements (such as interpretive signs) along the way.  Most trails are not considered developed sites, but all trailheads are.

State-managed Sno-Park parking areas that are located on National Forest Lands are also closed (with one expeption: Umatilla National Forest has two Sno-Parks that remain open; forest staff are monitoring signs of heavy use or failure to observe social distancing at these sites).

Is dispersed camping allowed?

Currently, dispersed camping - or camping other than at a developed campground - is allowed, providing an area closure order is not in affect. 

Please delay travel to outdoor destinations as much as possible.  We'll be here ready for you when it's much safer for all of us.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/umatilla/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd716016