Skip to Content

Cascade Lakes Hwy. to Elk Lake set to open next week


“It’s certainly an unusual year,” Jean Nelson-Dean, public information officer with the Deschutes National Forest, said Friday.

But she also said the lack of snow and warm temperatures still don’t indicate an early start to the area’s fire season.

“We don’t necessarily anticipate a huge, earlier start to our fire season,” Nelson-Dean said. “What we do expect is that our normal fire season, which is July, August and September, that it will probably be more intense.”

That’s because the natural cause of fires, lightning, still tends to happen during the summer months.

“That doesn’t mean that we’re not anticipating that there is going to be some problems early on in the season. We’re going to have drying fuels,” Nelson-Dean said.

The Forest Service has staff on schedule and is not planning on doing anything differently. It says the workers are well-prepared.

Meanwhile, the Cascade Lakes Highway might get a jump start.

“We have been watching that highway for a long time here and have been noticing that the snow has been going pretty quickly,” said Tom Shamberger, Deschutes County Roads Department manager.

The section to Elk Lake now is scheduled to open March 18th. The county is working closely with the Forest Service on that date.

“I mean, usually we don’t have to have a discussion about Cascade Lakes Highway. We’re 2 1/2 months away from its normal opening,” Nelson-Dean said.

The biggest concern is public safety, making sure no one gets stuck in snow and ice.

“Some areas up there has no cell service, so that’s something we are keenly aware of. So we want to make sure that we make the right decision,” Shamberger said.

The opening date is not guaranteed yet, but unless there is a major change in weather, Shamberger is confident of opening the highway on the 18th. For the latest road closure information, check here.

McKenzie Pass, meanwhile, remains closed until June, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content