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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.

Confirmed Cases: 32994

Reported Deaths: 547
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7204138
Marion469594
Washington454060
Umatilla298741
Clackamas242061
Malheur163327
Lane123417
Jackson11615
Deschutes85212
Yamhill76213
Jefferson5418
Polk53215
Linn52213
Morrow5056
Lincoln48213
Union4462
Benton3146
Wasco2963
Klamath2802
Hood River2520
Douglas2334
Clatsop2170
Josephine1982
Columbia1791
Coos1570
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook530
Lake330
Curry310
Wallowa311
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 812711

Reported Deaths: 15633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2684556515
Riverside589321206
San Bernardino54482925
Orange534481216
San Diego46734776
Kern31994369
Fresno28441382
Sacramento22356406
Santa Clara21241314
Alameda21240406
San Joaquin20245441
Contra Costa16640206
Stanislaus16471356
Tulare15970263
Ventura12775150
Imperial11852317
San Francisco11195101
Monterey995372
San Mateo9897150
Santa Barbara9090113
Merced8872142
Kings765180
Sonoma7412122
Marin6730118
Solano640065
Madera453965
Placer358745
San Luis Obispo356229
Butte283344
Yolo281555
Santa Cruz23609
Sutter170511
Napa169013
San Benito134811
Yuba11537
El Dorado11304
Mendocino93418
Shasta88317
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5735
Lake55511
Nevada5377
Colusa5316
Humboldt5088
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18815
Mono1662
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
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