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Deschutes Forest plans to combine, expand camping, campfire restrictions

Deschutes National Forest sign

New rules proposed along Cascade Lakes Highway, near Three Creeks Lake

 BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes National Forest began a 30-day public comment period Tuesday for plans to combine and expand to two new areas "forest order" regulations that ban or restrict dispersed camping and campfires away from developed sites in certain areas.

The forest has had eight separate forest orders in place since the 1990s that outline what, where, how and when certain activities are restricted or prohibited on the national forest.

The orders have addressed restrictions or prohibitions of camping and campfires in very specific locations on the forest.

Forest Service officials said the proposed revision would take those existing orders and create a single more comprehensive and consistent forest order for the entire forest.

They said there would be little change to what is already being enforced, though some new areas are included and others expanded to include campfire restrictions.

“A more comprehensive forest order, rather than multiple forest orders, will be more responsive to changing recreational use patterns, minimize or avoid adverse resource impacts, and clarify regulations to the public about where and how camping and campfires are prohibited or restricted,” said Holly Jewkes, supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest.

The Forest Service said the goals of the Camping and Campfires Forest Order are to:

• Minimize impacts to riparian areas and water quality.

• Minimize impacts to scenery in areas with high scenic quality.

• Reduce the risk of campfires spreading and causing a wildfire.

Forest Public Affairs Officer Jean Nelson-Dean provided these details to NewsChannel 21 about the two new areas included in the proposed order:

Cascade Lakes Highway Scenic Views Corridor

The Cascade Lakes Highway has received multiple scenic designations over the years as a National Forest Scenic Byway (1989), State Scenic Byway (1997), and National Scenic Byway (1998). According to the 2018 Corridor Management and Interpretive Plan, “The vision for the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway and its surrounding area is to protect and preserve its intrinsic scenic, natural, and recreational qualities for future generations…”

Recently, the increasing use of this corridor for dispersed camping is affecting the scenic and natural character of this corridor. Prohibiting dispersed camping and campfires in this area would restore the scenic and natural qualities of this area.

Three Creeks Lake Area

The Three Creeks Lake area is a popular area for camping, fishing and trails. For many years, the area has been signed to prohibit campfires along the lake shore outside of the developed campgrounds. Camping and campfires outside of developed campgrounds around the lake can cause adverse impacts to water quality and the scenic beauty of the lake.

Two waterways -- the Deschutes Wild and Scenic River Corridor and the Tumalo Creek area -- have already had bans or restrictions on camping that will now include building, maintaining or using a fire or campfire outside of developed day-use areas or campgrounds.

The public can find out more about the specifics of the proposal and how to comment at the following link ( ) or by contacting Sasha Fertig, Forest Planner, Deschutes National Forest at or 541-383-5563.

Central Oregon / Deschutes County / News / Outdoors / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. All because of the californian refuge invasion and they wonder why they’re hated so much!!They thrashed their own state and now they’re doing a pretty good job of this one!and they do need to do something about their homeless problem spilling over onto our national forest!

    1. Absolutely… I’m not going to pay money to camp in one of their civilized campsites,
      just for the privilege of being surrounded by a bunch of loud, rude drunks with their
      music blasting.I don’t want to camp around a bunch of people I don’t know even if they aren’t loud and drunk. I guess structured campsites are great for those that like to socialize or are afraid to camp by themselves, away from civilization…

  2. The entitled generation has brought this upon themselves and the rest of the public, by destroying our forests with garbage they leave behind in mass amounts. On another note, this too is happening at our dog parks. The entitled do not want to pick up after their dogs, despite their are provisions made for doing so. Like our forests, it is a privilege to be able to use our forests, and our dog parks, not an entitlement, and we should show appreciation by being good stewards of taking care of both.

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