Sinkhole surprise: Feds working on a Wickiup fix

Meanwhile, warning signs, area roped off

Sinkhole appears at Wickiup Reservoir

La PINE, Ore. - (Update: Bureau of Reclamation comment)

The federal Bureau of Reclamation and the Deschutes National Forest warned the public Tuesday to stay away from a large sinkhole that has opened up near Reservoir Campground in the southwest side of Wickiup Reservoir.

The 10-by-12-foot sinkhole -- a measurement up from Monday's original 4-by-8 foot estimate -- is about 4 1/2 feet deep, officials said.

The hole was discovered over the weekend by Forest Service employees on the reservoir’s shoreline.

“Be aware this is highly unstable ground,” Reclamation’s Bend Field Office Manager Gregg Garnett told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday. “The immediate area around the hole could possibly collapse as well.”

It's not uncommon for the area, but the first of its kind in recent years.

The Deschutes National Forest said it is keeping the Reservoir Campground boat launch open, at least for now.

The hole is located about 250 feet from the boat launch on the reservoir, which is located west of La Pine.

The Forest Service said employees will continue to monitor the sinkhole to determine whether to keep the boat launch open.The public is advised the boat launch may close in the future, officials said.

The agencies also are working together to find a solution to fill in the hole.

Geologists from the Bureau of Reclamation have already began their initial review of the situation, but will need to wait for the lake to recede and the soil to dry out before they can begin the process of filling in the hole.

According to Garnett, "It really depends on the lake levels. Where those get down far enough where people feel comfortable, the Reclamation engineers and geologists will be working with the North Unit Irrigation District to formulate a plan. And once we know that, we can probably give a better timeline for repair.” 

While the boat launch is still open at this time, officials said anyone recreating around the area should use caution.

Signs have been erected and the area roped off. Officials from the two agencies reminded people visiting the area to be aware of their surroundings when near the sinkhole.

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