Recreation Resources

Jim Davis   Website

Last updated: August 6, 2020

The spread of Covid-19 created a widespread closure of public lands and recreational facilities across the country. Here’s a summary of the current closures in place for land management agencies in Oregon’s high desert.

As outdoor spaces reopen, please be sure to be thoughtful and recreate responsibly by continuing to keep social distancing, wash your hands vigorously and frequently, and knowing what’s open and closed before you head out. For additional guidance, see recreateresponsibly.org

Note: As of July 1, 2020, Oregon state is requiring people ages 12 and older in Oregon to don a mask whenever they’re in a public indoor space. As of July 15, face coverings are also required in outdoor public spaces when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not possible.

With the summer heat, we have entered fire season. Open fires and charcoal grills are prohibited in many areas except designated campgrounds. Avoid all spark-producing activities including driving over dry vegetation. Use this map of fire restrictions to zoom in on your destination and check restrictions before you head out. Check for active fires and area closures from the following sources. Oregon Department of Forestry updates a map of active fires in the state, and InciWeb tracks large fires nationally. Central Oregon Fire Info provides detailed updates on local fires. Interagency dispatch centers in Burns, Vale, and Lakeview keep track of fires of all sizes in southeastern Oregon.

As of 7/23/20 the Ben Young Fire near Paisley has led to closures on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. The closure applies to portions of the Oregon Desert Trail and Fremont National Recreation Trail, as well as roads and campgrounds in the area. Read the closure order for details if you are planning to travel to the area.

voices

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

“If I have to pick a favorite place in Oregon’s high desert, it would be Sutton Mountain, but I’m excited about all of the Wilderness Study Areas,” says Terry, adding, “Each is a gem to explore, and I hope they all get protection someday… I love the scale of the physical beauty of the desert.”

voices

Scott Bowler, Portland-based ONDA member

Scott Bowler, Portland-based ONDA member

The desert speaks for itself, but very softly. I support ONDA to promote and enable discovery of the amazing beauty and recreational opportunities of the high desert by much broader groups of people; and most especially to protect forever the full and diverse landscape of the Owyhee Canyonlands, a place without parallel or equal in our country.”

watch

Jeremy Fox on Steens Landscape

Jeremy Fox on Steens Landscape

Federal Lands

Bureau of Land Management
Reopening Summary

With the lifting of public health and safety restrictions enacted by local, county and state officials, the BLM is beginning phased reopening. Many campgrounds, restrooms and day-use facilities (i.e. locations with picnic areas and/or restrooms) are reopened. Some BLM District and Field Offices have restored access with limited in-person services. Contact districts for specific information.

Prineville District: Campgrounds will re-open to overnight use in the North Barr, Buckhorn, Steelhead Falls, Big Bend, Palisades, Chimney Rock, Post Pile, Cobble Rock, Castle Rock, Stillwater, and Lone Pine locations.

Burns District: Page Springs Campground at the base of Steens Mountain and Chickahominy Reservoir Campground near Riley are open. Steens Mountain Loop Road is open as are all campgrounds on the mountain.

National Forests
Reopening Summary

Most developed sites in Region 6 have reopened, including many campgrounds. Check interactive map and recreation reports for specific site information and contact district offices for detailed information. 

 

Reopening Summary

Camp Hart Mountain and Hot Springs Campgrounds are open. Refuge lands are open.

Malheur Refuge visitor’s center, store, and museum are closed. Refuge lands, trails, and bathrooms are open.

Reopening Summary

Crater Lake: Roads are open. Most trails and the backcountry permit office is open. Mazama Campground is open and reservations are required; Lost Creek Campground will be closed all summer. Lodging is available at Crater Lake Lodge and the Mazama Village Cabins. The Visitor Centers are closed, but cafes and gift shops are open. Restrooms at Rim Village and Mazama Campground are open 24 hours. Vault toilets are open 24 hours at the North Entrance, Watchman Overlook, the top of the Cleetwood Cove Trail, and the Vidae Falls Picnic Area.

John Day Fossil Beds:

Picnic areas and trails are open at the Clarno, Sheep Rock, and Painted Hills Units.

The Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center and Painted Hills Contact station remain closed.

Newbury Volcanic:

Beginning Monday, June 15, 2020 most campgrounds within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument will open.  Opening campgrounds include McKay Crossing, Prairie, Cinder Hill, Chief Paulina Horse Camp, East Lake, Little Crater and Paulina Lake. Newberry Group Camp will be closed until State of Oregon rules for group sizes are appropriate to the group camp.

Lava Lands Visitor Center remains closed and the public will be informed about any opening when it occurs.

Lava River Cave will be closed all summer.

Tribal Lands

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Closure Summary

All tribal conservation areas are closed, including Pine Creek Conservation Area.

State Lands

Reopening Summary

Most parks are now open to day use, check the interactive map for use restrictions and contact parks directly. Many campgrounds have opened as well, although services may be reduced, check the interactive map for details. Most cabins, yurts, hiker/biker sites, and group facilities remain closed.

Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Reopening Summary

ODFW Wildlife Areas are open for day use and camping (where allowed). Offices and fish hatcheries remain closed to the public. Hunting and fishing in Oregon is open to nonresidents. Crabbing is open to nonresidents from Cape Falcon south. Clamming remains closed to nonresidents for the entire coast.

Wildlife areas that allow camping reopened to camping include:

  • Bridge Creek Wildlife Area, Umatilla and Morrow counties
  • Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area, Wasco County
  • Philip W Schneider Wildlife Area, Grant County
  • Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area, Crook County
  • Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Lake County
  • White River Wildlife Area, Wasco County

Central Oregon Parks

Bend Parks and Recreation
Reopening Summary

Parks and trails remain open with the social distancing rules in place. Park restrooms are open. Stake parks and pickleball, tennis, horseshoes and bocce ball courts are open. Playgrounds are now open. Off-leash dog areas, picnic shelters and restrooms remain open. Rivers are open for floating. Maintain social distancing while recreating.

Basketball courts are closed.

Redmond Parks and Recreation
Reopening Summary

The Activity Center and Swim Center are open with limited hours and reservations required. Playgrounds, and sport courts are closed.  Parks and trails are open with social distancing rules.

Crook County Parks
Reopening Summary

Skate park, pickleball court, Ochoco Lake Crook County RV Park, and Haystack campground are open May 15. Playgrounds, picnic shelters, basketball courts, covered picnic shelters, pool and splash pad remain closed.

Rivers

Reopening Summary

All launches and take-outs for the Lower Deschutes River are open as of May 21.

All dispersed and designated campgrounds along the Lower Deschutes will re-open for overnight use on the same date.

John Day River
Reopening Summary

All launches and take-outs for the John Day River are open as of May 21.

Reopening Summary

Ramp at BLM Spring Recreation site is open. Ramps in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area are open as of May 21.

Lower Owyhee River
Reopening Summary

Leslie Gulch boat ramp is open.