By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
As previously reported, a lot of people went camping over Memorial Day weekend in closed campgrounds.
In some instances, they left quite a mess.
“We know our campgrounds were very crowded last weekend,” said Jean Nelson Dean, Deschutes National Forest public affairs officer.
The Deschutes National Forest is expressing appreciation for the majority of people who practiced “pack it in, pack it out” no-trace camping techniques over the holiday. Unfortunately, not everybody hauled their trash home.
We didn’t have to go far to find piles of rubbish left behind in some campgrounds.
“We are asking people that they be self-sufficient, whether they are at a day use, a boating site or happen to be going in these closed campgrounds that they can actually deal with their own garbage and human waste,” Dean said.
National Forest officials say trash left behind means more work cleaning up and adds to COVID 19 delays of opening campgrounds.
Seasonal staff and campground hosts have been hired and they are now working to open campgrounds.
Dean says some campgrounds should open the first weekend of June, with more to follow shortly. A list of campgrounds that are opening should be published soon.
“One thing we want the public to understand is many of those campgrounds are closed because we haven’t yet mitigated all the hazard trees,” Dean said. “Hazard trees can’t be assessed just by looking at them. They can be rotten on the inside and they can look as healthy as the tree next to them. So we go in there and assess those. We just want people to understand there’s potential for trees to fall on people in closed campgrounds.”
The public is encouraged to check the availability of campgrounds on land management agency websites before heading out.