Cultus Lake boat ramp to close after holiday weekend

Crews to begin cutting down diseased trees

Boat ramp on Cultus Lake to close

La PINE, Ore. - The Deschutes National Forest announced Friday it will close the Cultus Lake boat launch starting at 10 p.m. next Wednesday, to the chagrin of some holiday-week vacationers who expected to be able to use it after the Fourth.

On Monday, contracting crews will move equipment into the Cultus Lake Campground and Day-Use Area. They plan to begin cutting down dead and dying trees on Wednesday. 

Several signs were posted this week notifying boaters the dock will be closed starting midweek. 

Wen Wick has been recreating on the lake since she was a child, and the boat closure could halt her summer plans.

"I don't know why things couldn't be dealt with differently, different timing. This is July, and there's only 10 weekends" of summer to go, she said Friday. 

But officials warned the area will be extremely unsafe for visitors to enter as crews work to remove the trees. 

Last month, forest officials closed the campground and day-use sites after finding more than 500 hazardous trees. 

The campground was scheduled to be closed until September, pending a full environmental review, but after a public outcry, the Forest Service decided it could do the tree removal sooner and reopen the sites by the end of July. 

Cultus Lake Resort remains open as it prepares for the Fourth of July weekend. The resort offers a breathtaking view from its porch that brings people back every time. 

Resort co-owner Sandie Campbell said she has been getting calls from people who want to stay on the property because the campground is closed. 

"We have hundreds, literally hundreds of phone calls that we've taken from families, that they've rented RVs, they've got their vacation taken off of work, they're having family reunions -- and all of sudden,  bam, they're just canceled," Campbell said Friday. 

She said her staff has sadly had to turn people away because she doesn't have any more room. 

"There has been a lot of heartache caused over this. It just could have been handled in a more proactive way," she said. 

According to forest officials, the boat launch closure will happen at night and field rangers will be letting boaters know about it. It will be closed through the following weekend, but the tree-cutting could be finished by mid-July. On its website, the resort said the Forest Service is considering giving those with canceled campground reservations first shot at the follow-up reservations, before the general public can.

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