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'Trash, human waste' forces Oregon forestry officials to shut down dispersed camping

The Oregon Department of Forestry will temporarily bar all dispersed camping beginning on Monday in order to make those areas safe for visitors.

Posted: May 8, 2020 6:04 PM
Updated: May 8, 2020 6:08 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The actions of some careless stewards of Oregon state lands have caused the Department of Forestry to temporarily shut down dispersed camping on ODF-managed lands starting on Monday.

Unlike campgrounds — which have been closed in Oregon due to the COVID-19 response — dispersed camping areas usually do not have restrooms or sites for disposal of garbage. Campers are supposed to pack out everything that the bring in, as well as properly disposing of human waste.

"These actions are integral to keeping campers and the forests safe and healthy, particularly as the agency currently does not have adequate capacity to manage sanitation issues at dispersed sites," ODF said. "Problems with trash and human waste accumulation in these areas have become insurmountable and hazardous for the public and ODF employees."

The closure applies to dispersed camping in the Tillamook, Clatsop, Santiam, Sun Pass, and Gilchrist state forests, as well as any other lands managed by ODF. It could last for several weeks while the agency brings in "additional resources" to clean the areas and make them safe for public use.

There is currently no set date for reopening dispersed camping to the public.

“We have strived to continue to allow as much access to Oregon’s state forests as possible while ensuring everyone’s safety, including our staff,” State Forester Peter Daugherty said. “Unfortunately, the current conditions are hazardous to the public and our employees. We appreciate the public’s understanding and look forward to reopening these areas as soon as we can safely do so.”

ODF says that people visiting state forests for daytime recreation should know:

  • There are no restrooms or garbage disposal sites available. Leave no trace on the landscape, which includes packing out all garbage.
  • Human waste must be buried at least 6 inches underground and away from trails, parking areas, bodies of water and any other areas where people commonly gather.
  • Physical distancing still applies in the outdoors. Plan on maintaining a six-foot distance from people outside of your party, and you are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering when interacting with others. Plan on recreating elsewhere if social distancing is not possible due to crowding.
  • Due to restroom closures, you are also strongly encouraged to bring personal hygiene supplies with you, such as hand sanitizer or soap and water.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
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