Category Archives: Deschutes National Forest

In the news: Study suggests seasonal drainage reduces invasives, boosts salmon migration in Ore. reservoir

Fall Creek wetland, with forests and a rocky mountain peak in the background. Deschutes National Forest; September 9, 1992. USDA Forest Service file photo.

A recent study analyzing more than a decade’s worth of fish migration data suggests the recently-adopted practice of seasonally draining an Oregon reservoir has boosted downstream migration of an endangered salmon species, while flushing two predatory invasive species.

A team of researchers from Oregon State University, USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Research Station, and the Army Corps of Engineers found that juvenile spring chinook salmon raised in Fall Creek Reservoir, located about 30 miles southeast of Eugene, Ore. in the Willamette River basin, registered stronger downstream migrations in the years after the Army Corps of Engineers began draining the reservoir for a brief time, every autumn.

The practice also flushed populations of two invasive species, the largemouth bass and crappie, out of the reservoir – potentially improving survival of future salmon in the system.

Full story, via the Statesman Journal:

New permits to protect wilderness on select Central Oregon trails

A woman hikes past mountain peaks in the Three Sisters Wilderness, Deschutes National Forest, in a Sept. 16, 2016 USDA Forest Service file photo.

BEND, Ore. (May 13, 2019) – The Deschutes and Willamette National Forests will use permits to manage entry at trailheads within three Cascade wilderness areas, beginning the summer of 2020.

Starting next year, from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend through the last Friday in September, wilderness day use permits will be required at 19 of the 79 Forest Service trailheads across Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, and Three Sisters Wilderness areas:

  • Mount Jefferson will have a day use permit system at seven trailheads (32 percent of all trailheads),
  • Mount Washington will have a day use permit system at two trailheads (20 percent of all trailheads) and
  • Three Sisters will have a day use permit system at 10 trailheads (21 percent of all trailheads).

Also during this time frame, overnight use will be managed through a permit system at all 79 trailheads within the three wildernesses.

Waldo Lake and Diamond Peak Wilderness areas will continue to operate with no day use or overnight limits.

For affected trailheads in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, and Three Sisters Wilderness areas, some day use and overnight use permits will be available for advance reservations, while others will be retained for issue as next-day or same-day permits.

This permit system is intended to balance the needs of visitors planning trips, as well as visitors making spontaneous visits to wilderness areas, while managing the impacts of increased visitor interest and recreational use at these sites, Tracy Beck, Forest Supervisor, Willamette National Forest, said.

John Allen, Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest, said the changes are needed to “protect the character of these special places for future generations.”

The forests began public outreach regarding the Central Cascades Wilderness Strategy Project in winter, 2016 after experiencing substantial increases in visitation during the previous four years. From 2012 through 2016, visitation to the Three Sisters Wilderness increased by more than 180 percent, with some trailheads experiencing increases between 300 and 500 percent.

The draft environmental analysis was released on April 4, 2018. Several hundred people commented on the draft environmental analysis through public meetings, phone calls, emails and letters.

The draft decision was issued November 14, 2018. Ninety people submitted formal comments on the draft decision.

Forest Supervisors and staff conducted eight meetings with objectors to resolve issues before the final decision was released. The decision can be viewed here:

Source information: Deschutes National Forest, Willamette National Forest (joint press release).

Newberry National Volcanic Monument summer 2019 operating hours announced

A view looking down from a high hillside at Paulina Lake and East Lake on a clear, sunny summer day

BEND, Ore. – May 13, 2019 The Deschutes National Forest has announced 2019 opening dates and summer season hours of operation for several visitor sites at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Lava Lands Visitor Center, Lava Butte, Lava River Cave:

The Lava Lands Visitor Center, Lava Butte and Lava River Cave: are now open to visitors for the 2019 season. Beginning May 3, the visitor center and cave are open Thursday through Monday; Lava Lands Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Lava River Cave is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (site gate at the Lava River Cave closes at 3:45 p.m.).

On May 23, summer hours begin; both sites will open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for the rest of the season.


Deschutes County Rd. 21, which provides access to the monument’s Newberry Caldera, remains gated at 10 Mile Sno-Park due to winter driving hazards. The gate is currently scheduled to open on May 17. Limited access to recreation sites, boat ramps and trails will continue upon the opening of the caldera, due to snow loading. Recreation fees are required where posted. For more information or updates, visit

Forest Service Rd. 9720 to Lava Cast Forest is open, and snow free.

Forest Service Road 500 to Paulina Peak is closed; opening date to be determined based on snowmelt (typically end of June to early July).

Lava Butte Shuttle Service: The Lava Butte Shuttle will operate on Memorial Day weekend, then daily from June 15 – Sept. 2. (Lava Butte is open to passenger vehicles when Lava Lands Visitor Center is open and the shuttle is not running).

Paulina Visitor Center: The Paulina Visitor Center is open weekends from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., beginning May 25. The center offers monument information, orientations, and a Discover Your Northwest bookstore.


  • Forest Service campgrounds in the caldera area will re-open as conditions permit (tentatively, May 24-June 12), for first-come, first-served camping.
  • Reservations open June 13 for the Little Crater, East Lake, Paulina and Newberry Group campgrounds.
  • Chief Paulina and Cinder Hill campgrounds are have delayed openings due to an ongoing tree removal project, and are tentatively scheduled to re-open June 27 and Aug. 1, respectively.

For more information about Newberry National Volcanic Monument, visit:

Source information: USDA Forest Service – Deschutes National Forest (press release)

New US Postal Service stamps to feature Pacific NW Wild & Scenic Rivers

The U.S. Postal Service will release a new issue of 12 wild and scenic river Forever stamps May 21, 2019. Two of the stamps feature Pacific Northwest rivers, the Deschutes River, which flows through the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, and the Skagit River, which flows through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for the first day of issue at 11 a.m. in Tumelo State Park in Bend OR. USPS image.

The U.S. Postal Service will feature two Pacific Northwest rivers, one in Oregon and one in Washington, on a new Wild and Scenic Rivers “Forever” postage stamp issue scheduled for later this month.

A pane of twelve stamps will be released May 21 that pays tribute to Wild and Scenic Rivers, exceptional streams that run freely through America’s natural landscapes.

Each stamp showcases a different river, and the issue as a whole is designed to highlight the preservation efforts of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which established the federal designation.

Wild and scenic rivers are those deemed remarkable for values including fish and wildlife, geology, recreation and cultural or historical significance, and flow freely through natural settings, and mostly without man-made alterations.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act categorizes designated segments as either wild, scenic or recreational:

  • Wild rivers are un-dammed, un-polluted and often accessible only by trail.
  • Scenic rivers may be accessible by roads, in places.
  • Recreational river areas are readily accessible, may have been dammed or have some shoreline development, but offer exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, boating, and other activities.

Featured rivers include the lower Deschutes River in central Oregon, which runs through the Deschutes National Forest and is recognized as a Wild and Scenic River for its exceptional recreation value.

The Skagit River segment of the Skagit River System, located on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, is also recognized for its recreational value, while the Sauk, Suiattle, and Cascade River segments of the river are designated as scenic under the act.

The more than 200 rivers and river segments designated in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System enrich America’s landscape by providing clean water, places of beauty and sanctuary and habitats for native wildlife.

A “first day of issue ceremony” for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Commemorative Forever stamps will be celebrated at Tumalo State Park in Bend, Oregon on Tuesday, May 21. The ceremony is open to all, with free admission and parking. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at ( News of the stamp is being shared with the hashtag #WildScenicRiversStamps and #WildRiverStamps.

To purchase stamps after the first day of issue (May 21), visit, call 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), order by mail through USA Philatelic catalog, or visit Post Office locations nationwide.

For more information

America’s Wild and Scenic River system:

Wild and Scenic River Commemorative Stamps issue:

Day of Issue dedication ceremony – May 21, 11 a.m. at Tumelo Park; Bend Ore.:

The U.S. Postal Service will release a new issue of 12 wild and scenic river Forever stamps May 21, 2019. Two of the stamps feature Pacific Northwest rivers, the Deschutes River, which flows through the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, and the Skagit River, which flows through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for the first day of issue at 11 a.m. in Tumelo State Park in Bend OR. USPS image.
The U.S. Postal Service will release a new issue of 12 wild and scenic river Forever stamps May 21, 2019. Two of the stamps feature Pacific Northwest rivers, the Deschutes River, which flows through the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, and the Skagit River, which flows through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for the first day of issue at 11 a.m. in Tumelo State Park in Bend OR. USPS image.

Source information: U.S. Postal Service press release:

Forest Feature: Elk

Bull elk grow antlers for the fall mating season

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re dedicating the November Forest Feature to showing our appreciation for an animal that has historically given much to people in the Pacific Northwest – the mighty elk!

Elk (Cervus canadensis) are among the largest species of the deer family in the world. They are also among the largest wild animals in North America – only moose and bison are larger among the non-domesticated species. (Fun fact: “Wild” horses on this continent are actually untamed domesticated horses, sometimes called “feral” horses – they cannot be truly ).

Elk from the Dosewallips elk herd along Highway 101

Elk from the Dosewallips elk herd along Highway 101 in Brinnon, Wash. on the Olympic Peninsula, Aug. 1, 2018. Elk herds are known to cross Highway 101, including the Dosewallips & Dungeness herds. As temperatures get colder, more animals start to live at lower elevations, near roads and some elk herds stay at lower elevations year-round. Courtesy photo by Karen Guzman (used with permission)

Elk first arrived in North America from Asia about 23 million years ago.

Historically, elk have been revered in many cultures. The meat from a single elk can feed many people. Their large hides can be used to create tents to house people, or clothing and shoes to protect them from the elements.

In North America, archaeologists have found images of elk that are thousands of years old, carved by the Anasazi people.

A Roosevelt elk bugles,

A Roosevelt elk bugles, June 9, 2011. USDA Forest Service photo.

Male elk are known for bugling – they make lots of noise to assert their dominance and attract mates.

They also have large antlers, which they use to fight for those same reasons.

Elk shed their antlers every year, and regrow them every spring.

A herd of elk approach a snowy river bank

A herd of elk approach a snowy river bank on the Olympic National Forest. USDA Forest Service photo.

Elk travel in herds, and are quick to defend against predators

They can run up to 35 miles per hour, though they rarely run from a fight.

If their vocal warnings are ignored, both male and female elk might attack by rearing up and delivering powerful kicks from their strong forelegs.

However, elk are susceptible to many diseases. These including parasites, chronic wasting disease, and a disease called Elk hoof disease.

Releasing elk at Sparks Lake on the Deschutes National Forest

Releasing elk at Sparks Lake on the Deschutes National Forest in 1934. USDA Forest Service file photo.

Elk cows leave their herd to give birth, which helps them protect their calves by avoiding attention from predators. They return only once their calves can keep up with the herd.

An elk mother will take care of one another elk’s calf, if the other mother is feeding.

Elk need a lot of food to survive.

Elk eat all kinds of grasses, shrubs, bark and leaves.

Some favorite foods for elk living in the Pacific Northwest include Aspen, red alder, and willow tree barks; shrubs, vines and bushes – including salal, wild rose, and Oregon grape, blackberry, huckleberry and currant; and other plants, including dandelion, clover, bear grass and fireweed.

Elk are valued by hunters as a game animal; their meat is lean, low in cholesterol and high in protein.

A herd of elk climb a bluff

A herd of elk climb a bluff on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. USDA Forest Service photo.

Super strength, super speed, super brave… in many ways, elk aren’t just mighty creatures of the forest, they are superheroes!

What do you like most about elk? Check out these fun facts and links to learn even more about our November “Forest Feature”!

Did you know?

  • An elk’s antlers can grow as fast as 2.5 cm per day, and reach a total length of almost 4 feet long, and weigh up to 40 lbs.!
  • Elk look a bit like deer, but they are much bigger. Adult elk stand 4.5 to 5 feet at the shoulder. With their antlers, a male elk might stand up to 9 feet tall!
  • Elk shed their coats seasonally. Their winter coat is five times warmer than their summer coat, and lighter in color – which helps camouflage them against bare ground or snow.
  • A bull (male) elk can weigh 600-800 lbs. A cow (female) elk can weigh up to 500 lbs. 

Learn more about elk:


Source information: Forest Features highlight a new Pacific Northwest species (or sometimes family, order, kingdom, or genus) each month, as part of the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s regional youth engagement strategy.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or other ways the Forest Service can help incorporate Pacific Northwest environmental education and forest science in your classroom, email us at

Matsutake mushroom season opens on Central Oregon forests

matsutake mushroom cap grows on a forest floor

BEND, Ore. – Aug. 28, 2018 – Matsutake mushroom commercial season opens immediately following Labor Day weekend on four National Forests in central Oregon.

This year’s commercial season for Matsutake mushrooms on the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, and Willamette National Forests is Sept. 4 through Nov. 4, 2018.

Permits for the 62-day commercial season will cost $200. Half-season permits, valid for 31 consecutive days, will be $100, and day permits will be $8 per day with a three-day minimum purchase (picking days do not need to be consecutive).

The permits are valid on all four Central Oregon forests, and is required for all gathering of Matsutake mushrooms for re-sale.

Harvesters must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid ID in order to purchase a permit. Permits will be available at ranger district offices on the forests during regular business hours.

Each purchase of a permit will include an informational synopsis and map. The map shows areas open to harvest. The permit is NOT valid on state or private property.

Areas closed to harvest include Crater Lake National Park, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, and Research Natural Areas, Wilderness areas, Oregon Cascades Recreation Area (OCRA), campgrounds, and other posted closed areas.

The Forest Service requires commercial harvesters to have written permission from the agency to camp on any National Forest, except in designated camping areas.

Ranger District office locations:


A campground for harvesters has been established at Little Odell Mushroom Camp near Crescent Lake, Ore. Hoodoo Recreation Services will manage the camp. The per-person rate for camping is $125 for the full two month season, $75 for a half-season and $40 per week. Site occupancy allows up to 8 persons and 2 vehicles. Water, garbage, and toilet services are provided. The camp will open on September 4, 2018. For more information about rates or services at Little Odell Mushroom Camp you can contact Hoodoo at 541-338-7869 or

Fire Safety:

Mushroom harvesters are reminded that Public Use Restrictions are in effect and must be followed due to VERY HIGH or EXTREME fire danger within the Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, Deschutes, and the Willamette National Forests. Harvesters should call the numbers listed for more information on site specific public use restrictions.

For more information about the Matsutake mushroom program, contact:

  • Fremont-Winema National Forest (Chemult Ranger District): (541) 365-7001,
  • Deschutes National Forest (Crescent Ranger District): (541) 433-3200,
  • Umpqua National Forest: (541) 957-3200
  • Willamette National Forest: 541-225-6300

Source information: Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua and Willamette National Forest Matsutake Mushroom program (joint press release)

Celebrate Smokey Bear’s 74th birthday Aug. 9-11 (updated)

Smokey Bear gets a "bear hug" from a group of children

PORTLAND, Ore. Aug. 8, 2018National Forests will host birthday parties around the country this week to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 74th birthday. Local celebrations will include children’s parties Aug. 9 in Klamath Falls and Lakeview Ore., and Aug. 11, at Fort Vancouver, Wash. and in Bend, Ore.

The Fremont-Winema National Forest invites kids of all ages to attend one of two celebrations for Smokey Bear’s birthday Party Aug. 9, in Klamath Falls, Ore. or at 1 p.m. in Lakeview, Ore.

In Klamath Falls, the party begins at 10 a.m. at the Moore Park Picnic Shelter, located close to Upper Klamath Lake. Moore Park is located off Lakeshore Drive. (You can find more information and directions here).

In Lakeview, the party will be at the park located next to the swimming pool at Center and D Streets, beginning at 1 p.m.

The Deschutes National Forest and Discover Your Forest invite the public to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 74th birthday on Saturday, August 11th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station, located at 18390 Century Dr. (off the Cascades Lakes scenic byway) in Bend, Ore.

Located just past mile post seven on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, the Cascades Welcome Station serves as a gateway to some of the most popular trails and lakes on the Deschutes National Forest. The Welcome Station offers recreation passes, local area maps, guidebooks and other educational materials, as well as, parking and access to Phil’s and Wanoga mountain biking trails systems.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Friends of Fort Vancouver, and National Parks Service will also host their celebration Saturday, August 11th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fort Vancouver Visitors Center (1501 E Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, Wash.).

The Fort Vancouver Visitor Center serves both Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The visitor center has exhibits about Fort Vancouver’s long history, a Gifford Pinchot National Forest Adventures exhibit, orientation films, contemporary local Native American art, and offers recreation passes, maps, books and gifts for purchase.

Festivities at both locations will include activities, wildfire prevention information, and pictures with Smokey.

The real Smokey Bear was a little cub saved by firefighters during a wildfire in New Mexico.  His paws were badly burned when he clung to a smoking, burned out tree. News of the little bear’s rescue spread quickly across the nation and soon became a national icon for promoting fire safety and wildfire prevention.  He received so many gifts of honey and an outpouring of mail that he was assigned his own zip code.

“For more than 70 years Smokey Bear has served as an inspiration and reminder to be careful with fire and anything that can throw a spark in the forest,” Lisa Swinney, a spokesperson for the Fremont-Winema National Forest, said. “We are so excited to celebrate Smokey Bear’s birthday, as well as to share his valuable message of fire prevention.”

For more information about activities, volunteer opportunities and other events on Your Northwest Forests, check out our calendar! It’s at

A Forest Service employee and Smokey Bear wave to the photographer while posed in front of a Forest Service fire truck.

Katijo Maher and Smokey Bear (Matt Robinson) prepare to represent the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest during the Skykomish Centennial June 4, 2009. USDA Forest Service photo.

“Only YOU Can Prevent Wildires.”  – Smokey Bear

Source information: Deschutes National Forest and Gifford Pinchot National Forest public affairs staff.

In the News: Is thinning enough to save forests, communities?

firefighters set grass and brush on fire among a stand of evergreen trees along a dirt road to create a barrier of spent fuel to stop an oncoming wildfire

“Done right, forest thinning and fire treatments can work. Many say Sisters, Oregon is proof… Crews have been thinning, mowing, and burning the Deschutes National Forest for at least a decade. They think that work saved Sisters last summer, helping 675 firefighters stave off the Milli Fire as it raced towards town. It has been praised as an example of how proactive forest work can prevent deadly wildfire disasters. But even in the Deschutes, treatments fall short of historic burning rates by 30,000 acres every year….”

Oregon Public Broadcasting has a new installment in EarthFix reporter Tony Schick’s in-depth reporting on wildland fire in the Pacific Northwest.

The new story follows the Wolf Creek Hotshots on the Deschutes National Forest as they conduct a prescribed burn, and compares the impact of various fuels reduction treatments on the landscape, and on future fires.

Read more, or hear the radio version of the story, at OPB.org


Sisters RD: New pine cone picker permits; season opens May 1

A gray bird with black wingtips and beak perches on a branch covered in pine cones.

SISTERS, Ore.April 30, 2018 – The dry pine cone permit season opens May 1, 2018 on Sisters Ranger District, Deschutes National Forest. In response to recent demand, the district is implementing several changes to the permit process this year to better meet the needs of the forest, forest product collectors, and the public.

Effective May 1, the forest will offer two types of permits for dry pine cone collectors:

A 10-day permit for $20 with no limit on the number of bushels picked within that time, with a maximum of six permits per person, per season.

A 60-day permit for $100 with no limit on the number of bushels picked, limited to one permit per person, per season.

Additionally, the Sisters Ranger District will not manage contract areas for dry pine cones; all collection will be managed using permits, which means there will be no cone contract area restrictions.

The Sisters Ranger District will still provide staging areas, industrial camping permits and help with haul route locations as needed through the end of the spring pine cone picking season, June 30, 2018.

For more information, contact Jeremy Fields, Special Forest Products Officer, at (541) 549-7659.

Press release:

Deschutes NF campsites open early for Bend-La Pine schools spring break

A lake is visible through the trees surrounding a tent campsite

BEND, Ore. — March 21, 2018 —  In an effort to help families take advantage of unusually favorable weather, the Deschutes National Forest will open select campgrounds during the week of Bend-La Pine School District Spring Break, March 23-31.

During the limited opening, several campgrounds across the three Deschutes National Forest ranger districts are slated to open to the public on a first come, first served basis, provided conditions remain favorable.

There will be limited amenities including no trash service and no water, although bathrooms will be open and maintained.

Each campground fee will be reduced due to the lack of services, with some campgrounds discounted to up to 50 percent off the regular rate.

The following campgrounds are scheduled to be open with limited services, on a first-come, first-served basis, March 23-31:

  • Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District: North Twin, South Twin, Big River and Fall River.
  • Crescent Ranger District: Crescent Creek, East Davis Lake, Sunset Cove and Princess Creek – Day Use boat launch only.
  • Sisters Ranger District: Camp Sherman, Smiling River, Pine Rest, Gorge, Allen Springs, Lower Bridge, Link Creek (with 3 yurts available on

If wet or snowy conditions return to these areas, campgrounds will remain closed to protect resources. EKIP logo: A circular shape containing silhouettes of children playing, birds, trees, grass and flowers. Text reads

DID YOU KNOW: The federal Every Kid in a Park program provides complimentary access to national forests, national parks, and many other public lands for fourth grade students and their families. More information:

Staff report, Deschutes National Forest