'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: 190804

Reported Deaths: 2528
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah37830583
Washington25279229
Marion21739306
Clackamas17107209
Lane12799145
Jackson10716135
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Linn479867
Yamhill441175
Klamath430861
Polk369952
Malheur349861
Josephine330268
Douglas322070
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Jefferson216734
Coos204633
Columbia170526
Union144423
Lincoln137020
Wasco137028
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Morrow110015
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Curry6459
Tillamook6363
Grant5065
Lake4447
Harney3378
Wallowa1825
Gilliam621
Sherman581
Wheeler281
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3757115

Reported Deaths: 62280
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123542224008
Riverside2990644587
San Bernardino2965144697
San Diego2777593725
Orange2707055005
Santa Clara1188512085
Kern1089931373
Sacramento1041761672
Fresno1016251684
Alameda875851545
Ventura808421011
San Joaquin730091391
Contra Costa68503804
Stanislaus619161055
Tulare49554839
Monterey43563382
San Mateo41844568
San Francisco36616543
Santa Barbara34306453
Solano32752249
Merced31743458
Sonoma29975318
Imperial28352721
Kings22965246
Placer22550290
San Luis Obispo21282260
Madera16439242
Santa Cruz16188206
Marin14034228
Yolo13875209
Shasta12071226
Butte11943199
El Dorado10111112
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Tuolumne412364
Mendocino406149
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Glenn238125
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Inyo142638
Del Norte13678
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