National Forest, BLM, BPRD, and ODWF Recreation Sites Reopen for the Weekend

Posted on in category Travel & Adventure

Starting May 21 the Deschutes National Forest, Bend Parks and Recreation District (BPRD), Bureau Of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will open recreation and camping facilities just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Official notices with links are below to help you plan your weekend outside safely.

Deschutes National Forest to open many day-use recreation sites by the weekend. Majority of day-use and boating sites to open with no services, but some still closed.

 Bend, Ore.- Prior to Memorial Day weekend, the Deschutes National Forest will open most developed day-use sites and boat ramps on the national forest. The public should be aware that those sites remaining closed have hazard trees that need to be addressed for public safety or still have significant snow.

“I am happy to share that we are opening many of our boat launches and trailheads that provide access to the landscape and recreation we all enjoy so much” said Forest Supervisor Holly Jewkes.  “We appreciate your understanding as we work to restore services to these sites.  In the meantime, we will not be charging day use fees.”

The specific status of each site on the Deschutes National Forest can be found in the table attached to this press release. The table will be updated daily on the Deschutes website (www.fs.usda.gov/main/deschutes/home).

Though these sites are considered open to the public, restrooms will not be regularly cleaned or maintained, nor will garbage services be provided at this time. The public should be prepared to recreate responsibly without these services, and remember “pack it in, pack it out” and put campfires dead out.

This weekend is the initial phase of developed recreation sites opening on the Deschutes National Forest. All campgrounds on the Deschutes National Forest remain closed. Dispersed camping is still allowed.

“We are working to open some campgrounds on the forest the first weekend in June. We will continue to open more campgrounds as safety issues are addressed and services can be provided,” said Jewkes.

Responsible recreation practices include:

  • Maintain at least six feet distancing from others and respect other people on trails.
  • Alert other trail users of your presence and step aside to let others pass.
  • Pack out your trash and leave with everything brought in. Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Pack out your used toilet paper (use a small plastic bag) and bury human waste at least 8 inches deep.  This practice protects other visitors and wildlife as we resume services to areas.
  • If you aren’t familiar with how to responsibly go to the bathroom in the outdoors, please watch this Leave No Trace video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOTnxfR8Fko

Please check the Deschutes National Forest’s website for daily updates on sites that are open. www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes

The Bend Park and Recreation District will reopen its pickleball, tennis, bocce and horseshoe courts beginning Thursday, May 21.

Sport courts were closed by the governor’s executive order and reopening is in accordance with the Guidance for Outdoor Recreation. Basketball, volleyball and other contact sports are still prohibited.

Reopening includes temporary use rules to ensure safe conditions for play while maintaining distance and minimizing touching of shared equipment.

“We appreciate the enthusiasm of sport court participants who have eagerly awaited the reopening of these park amenities,” said Michelle Healy, deputy executive director, Bend Park and Recreation District. “We are hopeful that the temporary rules will be followed safely and in consideration of the pandemic situation in our community.”

Signs are being placed at sport courts to inform park users of temporary use rules. A park locator is available with details about park amenities and locations.

 Temporary use rules:

  • Maintain six-foot distancing from others at all times.
  • Don’t congregate on courts, in common areas, or parking lots. Limit or stagger playing groups.
  • Play singles – doubles play with household members only. Wash hands with soap and water and bring hand sanitizer to courts.
  • Clean and sanitize paddles, rackets and water bottles. Do not share equipment.
  • Avoid touching gates, fences, nets, benches, etc.
  • Use your paddle, racket, or shoe to pass out-of-play balls. Consider wearing gloves to help avoid touching pickleballs or tennis balls.
  • Coordinate your group so each person serves with a different colored or numbered ball. If that’s not an option, mark personal balls for individual use.
  • Virtual handshakes and high fives only.

 Do not play if:

  • You have coronavirus symptoms: mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms identified by the CDC.
  • Have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Are a vulnerable individual and/or have underlying health conditions.

Players are encouraged to use their own judgment to determine their ability to  participate. Voluntary compliance with temporary rules is crucial to keep facilities open as we continue through the pandemic.

Information about all parks, trails and recreation offerings are at bendparksandrec.org.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reopening of recreation sites.

Some ODFW wildlife areas that allow overnight camping will reopen to camping beginning tonight, Wednesday, May 20.

Western Oregon wildlife areas don’t allow overnight camping so the change applies only to some eastern Oregon wildlife areas.

Below is the list of ODFW wildlife areas that will once again allow overnight camping. Note that only Elkhorn, Wenaha and Summer Lake maintain established campgrounds; the other wildlife areas offer dispersed camping. Wildlife areas open to visitors at 4 a.m. If restrooms are present on these areas, they may not be maintained daily and are not supplied with hand sanitizer so visitors are reminded to bring their own supplies.

Bridge Creek Wildlife Area, Umatilla and Morrow counties

Elkhorn Wildlife Area, Baker and Union counties

Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area, Wasco County

Lostine Wildlife Area, Wallowa County

Philip W Schneider Wildlife Area, Grant County

Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area, Crook County

Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Lake County

White River Wildlife Area, Wasco County

Wenaha Wildlife Area, Wallowa County