SALEM, Ore. – With more than half of the 47,465-acre Santiam State Forest in the Beachie Creek Fire footprint, the forest remains closed to the public. Re-openings will occur in phases based on public safety and access considerations, but there is no firm date for when these re-openings will take place.
About 24,700 acres of the Santiam State Forest were within the fire perimeter. Most of the forest’s popular recreation areas were impacted to some degree by the fire, with longer-term closures likely in some areas. You can learn more about impacts to the Santiam’s recreational offerings by visiting Santiam State Forest After the Fire: Recreational Impacts or the Santiam State Forest Restoration Page.
Approximately 24 of the Santiam’s 30 miles of trails are within the burn perimeter. About 190 miles of forest roads were in the fire perimeter, with numerous road sections at risk of collapse until repairs can be completed. Few roads through the Santiam can be used without crossing into the burn perimeter at some point, and hazard trees are still a significant risk in burned areas. The timeline for road repair and hazard tree mitigation is dependent on contractor availability and snow accumulation in higher-elevation areas.
“The outpouring of support for Oregon’s forests and offers to help are truly appreciated,” ODF State Forests Division Chief Liz Dent said. “Right now, the best way Oregonians can help is by honoring this temporary closure, which will help us begin to restore a healthy and productive Santiam State Forest for future generations.”
This closure is implemented under Oregon Administrative Rule 629-025-0091, an emergency rule adopted by the agency this week. It establishes notification requirements as well as potential enforcement and penalties for violating state forest closures. The closure is authorized under statutory authority provided by Oregon Revised Statutes 530.050(13).
All forms of public recreation create some level of impact on the land. With ODF staff focused on planning for forest restoration activities such as hazard mitigation, replanting, and repair and restoration of roads, recreation facilities and trails, the agency cannot adequately protect forest resources and mitigate issues such as garbage and waste accumulation along with wear and tear on forest roads and trails. State forests are managed to provide a balance of benefits to Oregonians, including economic, environmental and social. This decision was made with long-term forest health and productivity in mind.
You can learn the status of any recreation area on state forestland by visiting https://www.oregon.gov/odf/Recreation/Pages/default.aspx.