Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Know Before You Go - Wildfires and Fire Season

Mid-August is peak wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest. Historically, we often have multiple large landscape wildfires burning on public lands that can force unanticipated, last-minute restricted access, including public lands roads. Smoke from nearby wildfires may also be an issue in August and could impede your view of the eclipse.

Familiarize yourself with the Forest Fire Danger Ratings - These signs will inform you about current conditions as you visit public lands.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dispersed Camping on National Forests in Eastern Oregon


Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest outside of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means there are no toilets, no picnic tables, no trash cans, no treated water, and no fire grates. Typically, dispersed camping is not allowed in the immediate vicinity of developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, boat ramps, picnic areas or trailheads. There are extra responsibilities and skills that are necessary for dispersed camping. It's your responsibility to know these before you try this new experience.
 

Stay limits

Malheur National Forest -There is a 14 day stay limit in developed campgrounds and a 30 day stay limit at dispersed sites (non-developed campgrounds).
Umatilla National Forest -There is a 14 day stay limit in both developed campgrounds and dispersed sites.
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest -There is a 14 day stay limit in both developed campgrounds and dispersed sites.

Picking a Campsite
If available, please pick a site that's been previously used by other dispersed campers. Plants, soil and wildlife are impacted by new campsites, so using existing ones will minimize your impact on the forest. If there is no existing campsite, then follow these Leave No Trace guidelines:
  • Camp on bare soil if possible, to avoid damaging or killing plants and grass.
  • Do NOT camp within 200 feet of any water source, plants near water are especially fragile.
  • Don't camp in the middle of a clearing or meadow. Make your campsite less visible so that other visitors will experience "wild" setting.
  • Don't try to level or dig trenches in the ground at your campsite. Select a campsite with good natural drainage.
Visit the Leave No Trace (http://lnt.org/programs/principles.php) website for more information.

Campfires
Many wildfires are caused by human activity, typically escaped campfires from dispersed campers. Campfires are allowed when you are dispersed camping unless there are fire restrictions in effect due to high fire danger conditions. It is your responsibility to know if fire restrictions are in effect before you go camping.

Campfire Tips:
  • Use camp stoves to help conserve ground cover resources. The animals, insects and micro-organisms in the soil need downed, rotting wood to survive.
  • Select a site that is not in a meadow or clearing, that is not next to a tree with low, overhanging branches, that is AT LEAST 200 feet from any water source to protect fragile vegetation.
  • Use existing fire rings if they exist. Minimize the scarring of new rocks, soil and plants by using existing fire rings.
  • Build your fire on a fire pan. An old trash can placed on three rocks allows for a fire at camp without scarring the ground or rocks. When the ashes are COLD and DEAD OUT, the ashes can simply be scattered outside of the campsite.
  • Clear an area of combustible material six feet away from a campfire to reduce the chance of it spreading into a wildfire.
  • If you don't bring your own firewood, collect only dead and downed wood that is on the ground. You should not cut branches off of live trees. If a popular camping area does not have dead and downed wood, bring your own firewood or use a camp stove.
  • NEVER LEAVE A FIRE UNATTENDED.
  • You should have a bucket, shovel, and axe available to control or extinguish escaped fire.
  • BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR CAMPFIRE, MAKE SURE IT IS DEAD OUT. You should be able to put your whole hand into the ashes without being burned and it should be cool to the touch.
Protect Water Quality
Water gets contaminated by visitors who don't take care of their human waste or their garbage and food properly. 
  • Human Waste - Dispersed camping means no bathrooms and no outhouses. That means extra care has to be taken in disposing of human waste.
    • To dispose of feces, dig a hole 6 inches deep and AT LEAST 200 FEET AWAY FROM ANY WATER SOURCE (creeks, wetlands, springs, or lakes).
    • When you're done, fill the hole with the dirt you dug up and take your toilet paper with you to dispose of in a proper waste container.
    • Never defecate or leave toilet paper on top of the ground, it could easily get into the local water source and contaminate it.
    • Empty built-in or portable toilets at sanitary dump stations.Waste Water and Washing
    • Wash your body, dishes, etc., and dispose of waste water AT LEAST 200 FEET AWAY FROM ANY WATER SOURCE.
    • Do not use ANY soap directly in a water source.
    • Use biodegradable soap.
Treating Your Water
We used to be able to take a cup and drink directly out of a sparkling creek, a rushing waterfall or a clear, deep lake. There is NO safe water source anymore. With an increasing population and high visitor use on our National Forests, water sources have been contaminated with invisible, micro-organisms that can make people very ill and even kill them in some cases. Giardia is a common contamination that has been spread to many water sources through improper care of human waste and wild animals. It will cause diarrhea, cramping, and other physical problems.

The only way to ensure that water from an undeveloped source is safe is to treat it. Drinking water should be heated until it comes to a rolling boil, or treated using purification tablets or a water filter. Water from faucets in developed recreation areas are periodically tested and are safe to use without treating.

Camp Waste
If you “PACK IT IN”, always "PACK IT OUT"! Please leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. Pack out ALL your garbage, including aluminum foil, cans, toilet paper, cigarette butts and plastic products.

Have Fun!
If you follow the tips above, you can have a safe, low impact, primitive camping experience. Thank you for helping care for YOUR National Forest!
 
For Specific Regulations on Individual National Forests- Please Visit:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Safety First-Protect your eyes

From NASA-You should never look at the sun directly without equipment that's specifically designed for looking at the sun. Even using binoculars or a telescope, you could severely damage your eyes or even go blind! Solar eclipses themselves are safe. But looking at anything as bright as the sun is NOT safe without proper protection. And no, sunglasses do NOT count. 
Remember, during the eclipse, you'll be staring at the sun. NASA recommends wearing glasses with a special filter, you can use number 14 welders glass or buy a pair of special-made solar viewing shades, or using a DIY pinhole projector.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Guidlines for viewing the eclipse on Federal Public Lands in Oregon

 

 Be Safe!
·        Understand risks, respect signs and barriers, and stay within your limits.
·        Most remote areas have limited services and facilities, so pack plenty of food and water.
·        Be prepared for warm temperatures and bring sun and eye protection.

Know Before You Go
·        Plan ahead to ensure a safe and fun experience.
·        Make sure you have the proper supplies and gear.­
·        Expect large crowds. Most lodging is booked. Options for camping are limited. 
·        Familiarize yourself with the rules and specific information about the site you are visiting.
·        Cell service may not be available, so plan your route in advance and pack a map.
·        Many roads on public lands are gravel and may require a high-clearance or four-wheel drive vehicle.

Recreate Responsibly
·        Help us protect our lands for all to enjoy.
·        Tread lightly and leave no trace. Leave your site better than you found it.
·        Remove all trash and remember to pack it in, pack it out!
·        To learn more, visit www.lnt.org/learn/7-principles.

Only YOU Can Prevent Wildfires
·        August is peak wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest. A small spark can rapidly become a large fire.
·        Know fire risks and respect fire restrictions, such as campfire bans.
·        Avoid parking or driving on dry grass as your vehicle can spark a wildfire.
·        Vehicles are required to have a shovel and fire extinguisher or gallon of water in many areas.
·        For more information on fire prevention and current fire restrictions, visit www.keeporegongreen.org

Additional Resources
·        Travel Oregon Eclipse Webpage: www.TravelOregon.com/Eclipse