Recreation Closures Around OR

After last September’s fire season, this summer’s wilderness recreation opportunities will look a bit different. Many of the recreation areas that will remain closed lie along rivers, as the wildfires hit hardest along those windier corridors.  

There are several interactive maps which show the locations of fire closures, such as this Oregon recreation site status map or this US Forest Service emergency closure map. It is worth noting, the oregon.gov map has been known to fail to display recreation site names, so its guidance can be somewhat unclear.  

Whether it appears on the map or not, it’s worth checking if your destination is open before leaving home. The fine for failing to heed closures can often start at $300. You can be sure of a site’s status by calling the area’s Ranger Station.  

The majority of recreation area closures are along the Santiam River Canyon as a result of the Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires last fall. Much of Santiam State Forest is closed, including Shellburg, Butte Creek, and Abiquia Falls. The Little North Santiam Canyon and Opal Creek areas will also be closed, in addition to North Fork Road, which leads to parks like Salmon Falls.   

Although a number of access points to the North Santiam River will be closed as well, a few are still open including North Santiam State Park, John Neal Park, the Lyons/Mehama boat ramp, Kimmel Park, and the downtown park in Mill City. There are also several Santiam River campgrounds open near Detroit.  

Along the McKenzie River Canyon, many of the closures in response to the Holiday Farm Fire are near the town of Blue River. Similarly along the Umpqua River Canyon there are fewer closures, except for several waterfall hikes along Highway 138 including Fall Creek.  

Further from Corvallis, other wildfire-related Oregon recreation closures include areas along the Clackamas River Canyon near Portland, and several closures near Cave Junction in Southern Oregon.  

There are still options for boating, hiking, swimming and camping in Oregon this summer. But just keep an eye out, plan ahead, and make sure your destination isn’t closed.   

Oh and while we’re at it, don’t forget to leave the fireworks at home. And don’t forget to fully extinguish all fires.  

By Ardea C. Eichner