Wilderness Trail Fees to Go Up, Whitewater Trail to remain closed


Officials say accessing wilderness trails for the day in national forests in central Oregon will likely cost more than $10.  The Bend Bulletin reported Sunday that a public comment period will open next month to review fees for the new trailhead permit system for the wilderness areas in the Deschutes and Willamette national forests. Willamette National Forest project leader Matt Peterson says the expected cost is for day-use trail permits with registration fees.  The system that goes into effect next year will limit entry during the summer on 19 trailheads in the five wilderness areas in the state.  The fees will fund crews to maintain the trails.

One of Oregon’s most popular wilderness trails will remain closed into the beginning of this summer, almost two years after a large wildfire closed it down in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness.  The Statesman Journal reports Whitewater Trail, the most common route to the popular backcountry campsites of Jefferson Park, had its closure order extended into August, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday.  The trail was heavily damaged by the Whitewater Fire that burned in July 2017.  Crews worked last summer and fall to fix the trail but more trees died over the winter and spring, leaving a mess on the road and at the trailhead.  Detroit district ranger David Halemeier says crews need additional time to clean out the area before reopening it to the public.