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Late, lingering snow at 20-plus C.O. campgrounds means holiday campers must look elsewhere

Cancellations and refunds are handled through

(Update: Adding video and comments from the Deschutes National Forest)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The late season-snowfall has made for weeks of delays in opening several Central Oregon campgrounds for Central Oregonians and visitors, as the Deschutes National Forest is unable to open the campsites into mid-June.

While some areas are starting to melt, it does not allow enough time for the inspections to take place, and make sure everything's ready for the public. More than 20 of the 79 managed campgrounds in the Deschutes National Forest won't be open for the holiday weekend, or two weeks after.

Snow depths along popular routes such as the Cascade Lakes Highway vary from one to four feet, officials said this week.

The lingering snowpack has impacted the ability of the Deschutes National Forest’s campground concessionaire, Vista Recreation, to conduct its annual preseason safety inspections, maintenance and repairs, and hazard tree removal at several campgrounds.

In many cases, access roads to campgrounds remain impassable and campgrounds themselves are still under snow.

"Vista Recreation’s staff is working incredibly hard to open facilities where accessible," Monday's news release stated.

NewsChannel 21 asked Jamie Olle, public affairs specialist with the forest, what the reaction from the camping public has been to all those cancellations.

"Folks are pretty understanding, and we do have a lot of good visuals that show and highlight just how much snow is still left in higher elevations," Olle said.

Given the late-season snow conditions, many campgrounds that were slated to open this weekend will remain closed at this time. These facilities include:

Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District

Cultus Lake Campground (under assessment – may open if annual hazard tree removal can be completed by 5/27)

Elk Lake Campground

Lava Lake Campground

Little Cultus Campground

Little Fawn Campground

Little Lava Lake Campground

Mallard Marsh Campground

Point Campground

Quinn Meadow Horse Camp

Soda Creek Campground

South Campground (Hosmer Lake)

Crescent Ranger District

Contorta Flat Campground

Contorta Point Group Camp

Crescent Lake Campground (under assessment – may open if annual hazard tree removal can be completed by 5/27)

Princess Creek Campground

Simax Group Camp

Spring Campground

Trapper Creek Campground

Whitefish Horse Camp

Windy Group Camp

Sisters Ranger District

Three Creek Meadow Campground and Horse Camp

Whispering Pines Horse Camp

Visitors with reservations should have received an email from notifying them of their cancelled reservations. Reservations have been canceled through June 16, with a new tentative opening date of June 17, for these facilities.

During the spring and early summer recreation season, the Forest Service reminds visitors that it’s extremely important to “Know Before You Go.” This means confirming that your destination is open for use, checking to see if routes of travel are open and reviewing predicted weather forecasts. Forest Service roads are not plowed or maintained during winter conditions.

You can visit the Deschutes National Forest website ( to check on the operational status of our recreation sites.

Forest Service officials urge you to confirm the the exact destination, the routes and weather before leaving for the camps.

KTVZ news sources



  1. But but drought. Climate crisis. There’s enough snow up in the cascades to fill reservoirs. There is ZERO actual drought or anything climate related causing it. It the idiots that run the Bureau of Reclamation pandering to radical environmentalists like oregon wild over a spotted frog. Wickiup and Crescent lake etc. would be completely full if not for that! How about reporting on the real reasons for the so called “drought”. This article right here proves my point!

        1. He is right though about the forums allowing outright lies and misinformation to be spread as “opinions”. Not all opinions are equal, not are all deserving of the same respect. Can only hope that one day these forums have a down vote system.

          1. Free speech is free speech. Most of what people refer too as lies or misinformation are just a difference of opinion based on ones experience and knowledge. The science is always changing and no one knows it all. It’s a slippery slope when you start calling for censorship or look to the government to create a “Ministry of Truth”. Seek the truth for yourself, from many sources, and be tolerant of others views.

            1. Views and facts are two different things. Talk about a slippery slope… just because no one is omnipotent and science evolves is no reasons to think misinformation is just “a difference of opinion.” That’s illogical, and dangerous.

            2. “Free speech is free speech.”

              So you would be fine with people threatening one another, running up to women and children in public and making obscene suggestions, and all forms of pornography being freely available (Including stuff I wont even mention here.)?

              Because if “free speech is free speech” than ALL speech is free, no matter how vile, harmful, or repulsive it is.

              Nothing would be more disastrous than all speech being “free”.

          2. You clowns went on for years about Russia, and now it’s all proven that my kind were right. You folks bought into every single repeated article z21 ran, over and over and over and over and over and every last word of it was all a lie perpetrated by the Clinton campaign. You’re the LAST ones that should be whining about it

      1. “Noooo! You can’t just go posting facts that refute the current narrative!”
        Gee, maybe it’s possible that the reservoirs are actually low due to what Born in Bend says? If his statement is so ignorant, then why don’t you post something to shoot it down instead of just calling for him to be silenced?

      2. As an appeals court in Georgia just ruled, it’s up to the site what they allow (within the bounds of the law) or do not allow. De Santis had tried to get more government control over private websites, dictating what they could or could not censor. The court unanimously and rightly found that this law violated the First Amendment.

        This knife cuts both ways. You can’t demand someone’s completely wrong (but legal!) assertion be taken down. And you also can’t demand that someone’s completely right assertion be allowed to remain up. The private site makes its own rules.

        (Also, to anyone thinking of voting for De Santis when he runs for president: when you’re filling out your ballot, remember that he promoted and passed a law that violated the First Amendment. If the man has respect for America, I don’t see it.)

    1. Overpopulation and wastefulness are the culprits. Not environmentalists. How exactly are environmentalists taking that much water? Some secret underground pipeline leading to California? 🤣

      1. They did it by suing about 4 years ago to keep the dams open during winter. The suite was awarded to the environmental groups. The suite has forced resivoir levels dangerously low in order to keep Deshutes river at a more steady flow during winter months for spotted frog. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it is ridiculous and true. Look it up.

        1. The entire western part of the country is suffering from water shortages. It’s called aridification and far beyond blaming the spotted frog.

    2. Spot on, and most people don’t even remember. It hasn’t been that long since they kept the valves open all winter. What, maybe 4 years or so? Doesn’t take long to drain a reservoir!

    3. Yeah buddy! I have studied more about our local climate than anyone but my mentor the late Ray Hatton. This is the most snow we have had at this point in the season since 2012. So 1 snowy spring omits all the warm springs we have had in the past 2 decades. You have no clue!

  2. I just hope the campers can find alternative activities during this “severe drought” while waiting for “the record spring snowpack” to melt. Once this record snowpack melts fire danger is going to be off the charts too!!!!

  3. And again we see the central Oregonian conservative in its natural environment: Spreading lies, misinformation, in a forum that does nothing to curb their ability to spread ignorance like cancer.

    I wonder when we are all under water restrictions this summer and its 120+ outside will they admit they were wrong? No. Of course not. Because then it will be a “government conspiracy” with “Jewish space lasers” and it will all be put on display and enshrined right here.

      1. The entire western part of the country is suffering from water shortages. It’s called aridification and far beyond blaming the spotted frog.

  4. All those campers better start complaining. although, we are in the middle of the worst drought in 1000 years. Its good to see all that snow sticking around not only holding off the overcrowding of Central Oregon but keeping that snowpack for longer to hopefully keep our reservoirs full.

    1. People will be missing this water and these temperatures when its 120+ outside and we are all under restricted water access with no power for fans or AC.

      1. It is good to know that your crystal sphere already told you how hot this summer would be. At the same time you have no problem moving a million illegal aliens to CO to use up our resources. Must be confusing to be a liberal, logic goes out the door, ain’t it?

        1. “logic goes out the door, ain’t it?”

          Thanks for self-identifying your education level at the end there. Hard to take insults of intelligence seriously from someone with no less than 5 spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in 3 sentences.

          Bravo, you sure showed THEM DUMB LIBRULS.

  5. My question is why is there a third party doing this survey and campground cleaning when there are a lot of USFS employees sitting on their collective butts driving around everywhere? The USFS has passed on a lot of their supposed responsibilities to third-party people so of what use are they? Return all the USFS and BLM lands back to the state(s) and get rid of the deadwood in the brown buildings.

    1. My guess is it is far less expensive to have a 3rd party do it than to pay federal folks the required federal wages/benefits/retirement that you get with a federal job. I doubt the employees of the 3rd party get holiday pay and all the other perks tax dollars go towards. And I imagine it would be difficult to have onsite federal employees like camp hosts. The OT would be insane.

  6. Many campgrounds could have been open if there was the will from ODOT and the campgrounds. ODOT is doing massive plowing over McKenzie Pass, where there is a lot more snow than Century Drive. and, there are no campgrounds up there. Not sure why that is a priority. And, a concerted effort could have opened at least a narrow two lanes into some of the campgrounds. Inspection for dangerous trees and dealing with downed trees could have been done the last month from snowmobiles and four-wheelers. I have camped in January at the Grand Canyon when there was over 6′ of snow covering the entire campground. They plowed a lane into the campground, and I pitched my tent on top of the snow. Not everyone wants to do that, but I bet there are hundreds of intrepid souls who would give it a go. Not simple, of course, but if there was a will to do it, it could be done.

      1. I stand corrected regarding Cascades Lakes Highway, but I still stick with my opinion that at least some of the campgrounds could have been at least useable this coming weekend. The fact that the highway has been open and appears to have little, or no snow nearby, indicates that opening the campground roads was possible.

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