Maintenance on Olive Lake Dam closes small portion of lake to public access

Release Date: Aug 4, 2017  

Contact(s): Darcy Weseman, (541) 278-3722

PENDLETON, Ore. – Forest officials will close a small portion of Olive Lake on the North Fork John Day Ranger District to complete maintenance work on the dam and spillway. The closure will go into effect Aug. 7 and will prohibit boating and swimming within the closure area. Work will be intermittent and is anticipated to last until Oct. 1. 

“I appreciate the public’s patience and understanding while we complete the necessary maintenance for the aging dam structure. We realize this is a popular recreation area and are committed to maintaining recreational opportunities at the site, while providing for public safety,” said District Ranger Ian Reid.

The area closed to public entry is approximately one-half acre and will be signed, fenced and defined by a string of buoys extending from the dam into the water about 200 feet to notify swimmers and boaters of the closure.  The closure area is located on the northeast side of Olive Lake. The campground will remain open, but sites near the dam should be avoided.  The hiking trail in the vicinity of the dam and spillway will be closed during construction, but boating and swimming are still allowed outside the restricted area. Currently less than one percent of the 149-acre lake surface area will be affected by the closure.  

Construction activities on the dam and spillway will include rip rap placement on the lakeside face of the dam, removal and filling of the access tunnel on the backside of the dam, as well as removal of vegetation and debris in the spillway.

Olive Lake is a popular mountain lake and campground located 12 miles west of Granite, Oregon.  The natural lake was deepened by a 30 foot-high dam built in the early 1900s by the Fremont Power Company to provide hydroelectric power, generated at the Fremont Powerhouse, to the then-booming gold mining community. 

For more information about the closure area or permitted recreation activities on Olive Lake, please contact the North Fork John Day Ranger District at 541-427-3231.