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Rules aim to limit rowdiness at Three Pools, Opal Creek


SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Forest Service officials are proposing a series of regulations aimed at reducing damage from increasingly large crowds in some areas of the Willamette National Forest.

The Statesman Journal reports ( ) the steps include an alcohol and campfire ban in certain areas, along with increased restrictions on where people can camp. Fines for breaking the rules would run from $50 to $250 per citation.

The Three Pools Recreation Site is the poster child for the issue. Once a little-known swimming hole, the emerald pools have been overrun by growing crowds and marred by trash, vandalism and drunken behavior.

Forest officials say Opal Creek Trail, Elk Lake and the Breitenbush River have faced similar problems.

The Forest Service is taking comment on the proposals from April 3 to 14. Officials hope to have the rules in place before summer.

News release:

Localized Alcohol Ban, Camping, Campfire and Parking Restrictions Proposed

A Few Locations on Detroit and Sweet Home Ranger Districts

(Detroit, OR) The Detroit and Sweet Home Ranger Districts are seeking public comments regarding proposed localized camping, campfire and parking restrictions. In addition, the District is proposing an alcohol ban at the Three Pools Day Use Area. The Districts are proposing these restrictions in an attempt to improve the experience of visitors to their National Forests. There are several crowded places where drunken crowds, denuded campsites along waterways and congested parking along roadsides all contribute to unsafe and unpleasant experiences for many users.

“As our beautiful forest becomes more popular, we find there are a few locations that are not able to withstand the impacts from visitors. In addition to litter and human waste, irresponsible drinking is a problem at Three Pools Day Use Area, specifically. We want all people to feel welcome to come enjoy their forest; that means asking everyone to behave considerately of others and the land. I welcome thoughts on our proposal,” stated District Ranger Grady McMahan.

In order to balance a better visitor experience with the fewest restrictions, the proposed changes on the Detroit Ranger District are limited to the Three Pools Day Use area on the Little North Fork of the Santiam River, and portions of the French Creek, Blowout and Breitenbush roads, and Elk Lake. On the Sweet Home Ranger District, the proposed camping restrictions are along Gordon road and in the Moose Creek area. More details of the proposal are available on our web at:

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