BEND, Ore. - Deschutes National Forest officials said Monday they are preparing for an influx of visitors to the forest for the solar eclipse. While only a small portion of the forest will be in the path of totality, there will be several temporary road closures in place to promote public safety, minimize conflict and protect natural resources.
Ensuring that the public enjoys this event safely while protecting natural resources is a top priority for the forest.
Bend Fork Rock Ranger District
· Forest Road 370 will be managed as a one-way road from Thursday, August 17 through Monday, August 21. To address safety concerns on a narrow, rough, one-lane road, traffic will enter at Todd Lake off the Cascade Lakes Highway, and exit either to Sisters on Forest Road 16, or via Forest Road 4601 near Tumalo Falls.
· Paulina Peak Road (Forest Road 500) will be closed to motorized travel from sunset on Sunday, August 20, through 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 21. Pedestrians will still be able to access Paulina Peak, but vehicles will be prohibited during this time.
· The Lava Butte shuttle will begin operations at 8:30 on Monday, August 21, but will not operate between 9:30 am drop off on Lava Butte and 11:30 a.m. During this time, the Lava Butte Road will be open to non-motorized only. Anyone needing shuttle access to reach the top of Lava Butte should plan to arrive no later than 9:00 a.m. The shuttle will resume operations at 11:30 a.m. from Lava Lands for the remainder of that day.
Sisters Ranger District Road Closures (August 17 to August 21)
· Metolius Basin – Green Ridge: Forest Road 1490, which links the Metolius Basin with the Green Ridge area, will be closed to motorized use but open to hiking, biking, or other forms of non-motorized travel.
· Forest Road 1110 accessing Black Butte will be closed to motorized use starting at the junction with Forest Road 11. Forest Road 1110 and the non-motorized Black Butte Trail will be open to hiking, biking, or other forms of non-motorized travel for the 10 mile round trip. As a reminder, Black Butte fire lookout at the summit is active and staffed. Overnight camping is not allowed to minimize impacts to the lookout operations.
· Forest Road 1140-600/650 leading to the Green Ridge Fire Lookout will be closed to motorized use beginning at the junction with Forest Road 1140. For the duration of the eclipse event, the public will not be allowed to access the lookout.
· An area closure remains in place for the Whitewater Fire in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. This area closure includes the Jefferson Lake, Brush Creek and Cabot Lake Trailheads. A section of the Pacific Crest Trail is within this area closure and has been rerouted to avoid the area. For more information on this closure, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/deschutes/alerts-notices
Crescent Ranger District
· There will be a road closure of at the 5815-500 road that accesses Odell Butte Lookout from Thursday, August 17 through Monday, August 21.
There will be several information boards placed in Central Oregon communities and throughout the forest. These boards will have forest and grassland information, pertinent regulations and maps, and will, at times, be staffed by Information Officers or Recreation staff.
The Sisters District office will maintain current business hours and be open 8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, and will be closed on the weekend. An Eclipse Information Kiosk will be located in the office parking lot and will be staffed Thursday, August 17 and Monday, August 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 4: 8:00 p.m. to provide public information but will not be able to sell maps or products.
The Bend-Fort Rock District offices will maintain current business hours and be open 8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, and will be closed on the weekend. The Cascade Lakes Welcome Station is open seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lava Lands Visitor Center on the Newberry National Volcanic Monument is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Crescent District office will be open 8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, and the office will be open Saturday, August 19 and Sunday August 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to provide public information but will not be able to sell maps or products.
Central Oregon is now in the peak of fire season. Fire officials want to remind the public that we are in EXTREME fire danger. Individuals and families planning to camp out should bring a propane stove or alternative means for cooking.
In addition, visitors are only allowed to smoke in closed vehicles or on bodies of water. Grass and brush is tall and parking hot vehicles on top of them can ignite a fire. When possible, find areas void of vegetation or clear an area to park. Finally, while this is a celebratory event for many, visitors must leave all fireworks at home--it is illegal to discharge or even possess fireworks on public land.
For Eclipse related information in Central Oregon call “211” for general information, and for emergency and preparedness information, visit Central Oregon Emergency Information Network at: http://coemergencyinfo.blogspot.com/