La Grande Ranger District
The La Grande Ranger District employs approximately 50 full-time employees. During the summer months, an additional 100 seasonal employees are hired for work in fire crews, recreation, range, timber, and fisheries. Professionals working at La Grande Ranger District include fire, wildlife and fisheries, archeology, engineering, botany, GIS, range, recreation, and planning. It is home to the La Grande and Union Interagency Hotshot firecrews. The District hosts the Oregon Trail Interpretive Park at the Blue Mountain Crossing. Starkey Experimental Forest is on the district and is managed in conjunction with the La Grande Forestry and Range Sciences Lab for research purposes. Located off Interstate I-84, near the middle of Blue Mountain tri-forest (Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla, and Malheur) area, partnerships abound. It is not unusual for employees to share the expertise of personnel with the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Forestry, National Marine Fisheries, US Army Corps of Engineers and US Fish and Wildlife during the course of the work day. For those interested in working in the La Grande Ranger District, properties in the area range between $49,000 and $400,000. Additional housing in the area includes a variety of rental properties and apartment buildings.
The La Grande Ranger District office is located in La Grande, Oregon. The town's name comes from an early French settler, Charles Dause, who often used the phrase "La Grande" to describe the area's beauty. The culturally diverse population numbers approximately 12,500 residents, not including those who travel here to attend Eastern Oregon University. It is the county seat of Union County. La Grande lies in the Grande Ronde valley which is nearly surrounded by the Blue Mountains and Wallowa Mountains. Recreation
The La Grande Ranger District is frequented by visitors involved in a full range of recreational activities. Spring mushroomers and hikers start into the forest as early as March and during the summer and fall there is hiking, camping, horse riding, biking and off highway vehicles riding, fishing and hunting clear into November some years. Winter time offers snow shoeing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing.
The district has worked to ensure it's campgrounds and trailheads are constructed to provide conditions which are, at the minimum, ADA compliant. All developed campgrounds have ADA compliant facilities and some have the added convenience of a camp host. The majority of the district campgrounds are designed for full sized RVs.
Other Developed Sites
The Oregon Trail Interpretive Park is a highlight of the overall program. It offers living history presentations, special programming throughout the summer, and a full service, fully staffed Forest Service Park.
Two Color Guard Station is totally refurbished and available to the public for daily rental. Moss Springs Guard Station will also be a cabin rental with an interpretive experience offering people an opportunity to step back in time to the early days of the Forest Service. This program provides a very high quality service to the public.
In additions, La Grande Ranger District offers interpretive, scenic overlook, historic sites.
Trails and Trailheads
The La Grande Ranger District is part of the largest ATV/motorcycle trails network in eastern Oregon - the Winom Frazier. It adjoins a motorized trail system on Umatilla National Forest, North Fork John Day Ranger District, offering users nearly 150 miles of high quality motorized trails.
The district offers a variety of trailheads to accommodate overnight camping with stock. Stock holding pens and handling facilities are offered at each campsite to stop widespread stock damage resulting from uncontrolled use. Trailheads are popular for day hikes and rides as well as for packing into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. There are a number of signed, but undeveloped trailheads with dispersed camping opportunities for those who hike or ride into the other non-motorized areas on the district.
There is very heavy dispersed use during the summer and during hunting seasons.
The winter trails program is large and still growing. An extensive groomed snowmobile system that ties into Two Color Guard Station, which, due to it's popularity, needs to be reserved in advance and which has beds to accommodate groups of as many as 12 people.
The Blue Mountain Crossing Nordic Ski Park, just off I-84 at the Oregon Trail, offers several miles of groomed nordic and skating trails in a variety of settings. The high quality back country telemark, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing opportunities are endless.
Two popular undeveloped sledding hills that receive heavy use in the winter are located at Catherine Creek Summit and Spring Creek.
Click here to see the most current recreation report.
Contact the district
La Grande Ranger District
3502 Hwy. 30
La Grande, Oregon 97850