The following is from the Ochoco National Forest:
Prineville, Ore., September 26, 2023— Beginning Saturday, October 1, the Ochoco National Forest will close the Walton Lake Campground to begin implementation on the Walton Lake Restoration Project. The project will address public safety and forest health in the Walton Lake Developed Recreation Management Area approximately 30 miles east of Prineville.
The work will include a sanitation harvest to remove all host species of a root disease called laminated root rot. Laminated root disease has infected Douglas and grand firs in this area, rotting the trees at the base from the inside. Infected fir trees can fall without warning, creating a safety hazard for recreationists and increasing fire danger.
The Walton Lake Restoration Project will also selectively remove fir trees encroaching on the large, legacy ponderosa pines to reduce the stress of competition and conserve the mature ponderosa forest. Additionally, project work will include the replanting of trees that are resistant to laminated root rot to improve public safety and maintain visual aesthetics surrounding the forest’s busiest recreation site.
“After 8 years, we are eager to move forward with the Walton Lake Restoration Project in order to holistically manage for laminated root rot,” said Lookout Mountain District Ranger Slater Turner. “We’re proud of this project and know that this work will improve overall forest health in the Walton Lake area and provide for a safer visitor experience.”
Beginning Saturday, Walton Lake Campground and Day Use Area will be closed for the season and contractors will begin their work as soon as possible. The public may see logging equipment and log trucks in the vicinity of the campground and Walton Lake Sno-park and are reminded to keep their distance for their safety and the safety of the operators
The Ochoco National Forest initially issued a decision on the Walton Lake Restoration Project in 2015. The Forest Service later withdrew the decision in October 2016. The Ochoco National Forest later completed a Revised Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision Notice (DN) for the Walton Lake Restoration Project in 2020.