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 (https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57437 ) or by contacting Sasha Fertig, Forest Planner, Deschutes National Forest at email@example.com or 541-383-5563.