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Heavy Rains Limit Access in the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation AreaSalem-News.com
Crews are working quickly, but it could take weeks.
(DETROIT, Ore.) - Recent storms continue to create hazardous driving conditions on Forest Service roads in the northern section of the Willamette National Forest, particularly in the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area.
Public safety concerns have prompted forest engineers to issue a temporary closure of Forest Service Road 2207, which accesses several popular recreation sites, and to perform emergency repairs on Road 2209.
Heavy rains washed away fill material surrounding a culvert that supports the 2207 Road close to where it intersects with Forest Service Road 2209. Engineers are concerned that additional rain in the forecast may wash away even more of the unstable soils.
“The width of the 2207 Road has been greatly reduced,” said Paul Bennett, Engineering Staff Officer for the Detroit and Sweet Home Ranger Districts. “We appreciate the public’s understanding as we make the needed repairs to ensure the safety of Forest visitors.”
The 2207 Road provides access to the Three Pools Day Use Area, Shady Cove Campground, and the eastern trailhead for the Little North Santiam Trail (#3338). The trail can still be accessed by its western trailhead off of Forest Road 2209-201, also known as Elkhorn Road.
Most visitors access the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area from either the Little North Fork Road or Gates Hill Road off of Highway 22. Forest Service Road 2223, also known as French Creek Road, near the town of Detroit usually provides an alternate route to the recreation sites that are located behind the road closure. However, this route is currently inaccessible due to snow.
Crews plan to work as quickly as possible to repair the road. However, additional rain and snow over the next few weeks could prevent them from being able to make the repairs until early spring. A local contractor completed repairs on deep ruts from the rainfall in Forest Service Road 2209, which provides access to Jawbone Flats, the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center and other trails.
Visitors are encouraged to use caution when driving on roads within the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area due to the potential for additional slide activity, and the presence of road hazards such as rocks and fallen trees.
Updated road conditions will be posted on the Willamette National Forest webpage at http://www.fs.usda.gov/
Source: U.S. Forest Service
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