Salem, OR – Marion County is reminding visitors that six county parks and the North Fork corridor remain closed to public access due to significant wildfire damage. Public and private lands around the Little North Fork Santiam River basin were heavily damaged during the September 2020 Beachie Creek and Lionshead wildfires. In total, 165 acres of county parkland were destroyed in the fires.
Access to North Fork, Gates Hill, and Pioneer Roads is limited to property owners and their guests, contractors, and agents. Parks closures include Niagara, Minto, Packsaddle, North Fork, and Salmon Falls Parks, and Bear Creek Park and Campground.
Marion County Public Works anticipates it will take approximately 18 months to restore wildfire damaged roads and two to three years to fully rebuild county parks. The closures are meant to support public safety and rebuilding of wildfire damaged properties.
County parks sustained considerable damage with the near total destruction of vegetation and park amenities and it remains unsafe to enter the parks due to the large number of dead and standing trees that can fall with little or no warning.
A large volume of woody debris, both floating and submerged, is moving down the watershed on a daily basis making it unsafe for the public to enter the Little North Fork Santiam River at this time.
Road signs have been placed on North Fork, Gates Hill, and Pioneer Roads notifying the public of the restricted access. Additional restrictions include:
- No parking and no bicyclists within the North Fork, Gates Hill, and Pioneer Road rights-of-way.
- No recreational access to the Little North Fork Santiam River from North Fork Road, Gates Hill Road, Pioneer Road, North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, or Bear Creek Park and Campground.
We appreciate the public’s partnership as we begin the process of making our beautiful North Fork corridor safe for residents and visitors. For more information about Marion County parks, visit: www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks.
For information about closures of state and federal wildfire impacted area, please visit the Oregon State Parks Interagency Recreation Status Map.