Main Access Points to Santiam Canyon Wilderness Areas to Remain Closed for Summer

Posted on August 3, 2022

Salem, Ore. – Aug. 3, 2022 – This week, the Willamette National Forest announced the reopening of approximately 188,641 acres of Forest Service land, previously closed because of fire damage and hazards caused by the 2020 Labor Day and the 2021 Middle Fork Complex fires. This reopening includes some popular locations for Santiam Canyon residents and tourists alike, including the Opal Creek Wilderness and Little North Fork.

While sections of the forest may technically be open, many points of access including some trailheads, roads, and recreation sites remain closed due to ongoing repairs and hazard removal to ensure safe travel to popular recreation spots on county managed roads.

As such, it is inadvisable to venture into these areas. A complete map of Forest Service Road closures can be found here.

Current Park and Road Closures in Marion County: 

  • Salmon Falls
  • Bear Creek
  • North Fork
  • Niagara
  • Minto

North Fork Area Public Access Closures:

  • Only Authorized Vehicles and Pedestrians may use N Fork Rd SE, Gates Hill Rd SE, Pioneer Rd SE.
  • No access to Little North Fork or Santiam River allowed from N Fork Rd SE, Gates Hill Rd SE, Pioneer Rd SE.
  • No parking within right of way on N Fork Rd SE, Gates Hill Rd SE, Pioneer Rd SE.
  • No bicyclists allowed to use right of way on N Fork Rd SE, Gates Hill Rd SE, Pioneer Rd SE.
  • Continued Park Closures are to allow for the reconstruction of needed infrastructure within North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, and Bear Creek Park/Campground, and to reduce congestion on N Fork Rd and Gates Hill Rd.

The above information pertaining to Marion County Parks is updated frequently on our website.

We also spoke with the Bureau of Land Management on their plans:

“BLM lands and access points within the Beachie Creek and Riverside closure area will remain closed until October 1st, 2022,” said John Huston, BLM Field Manager.

A complete map of BLM closures can be found here.

We are proud of the diligent work Marion County and its partners, including BLM and the Forest Service have done to reopen the canyon, but there is still much to do to ensure the safety of county residents traveling into the area. Additionally, the Forest Service is still gaining first-time access to some of the areas most impacted by the 2020 fires, assessing conditions and identifying needed restoration work. We strongly encourage individuals to avoid these areas until all our partners can reopen access.

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