People can hit the trails again in parts of the Willamette National Forest that were closed for the past two years. Over the last several days, the Forest Service has reopened areas affected by past wildfires.

Duane Bishop, acting supervisor of Willamette National Forest, said wildfires in 2020 and 2021 burned hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land, including many recreational sites.

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Burned trees surround a portion of Forest Service Road 46 at the boundary of Willamette and Mount Hood national forests. The road is open to non-motorized traffic after years of closure from wildfire damage.

Burned trees surround a portion of Forest Service Road 46 at the boundary of Willamette and Mount Hood national forests. The road is open to non-motorized traffic after years of closure from wildfire damage.

Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

This left the Forest Service with daunting tasks, including trail and bridge repairs, clearing of fallen debris and adding guardrails.

As of the beginning of this month, the Forest Service restored access to over 188,000 acres of fire-affected areas.

People can now hike at Stahlman Peak, Tumble Ridge Trail and Golden Butte Lookout in the Detroit Ranger District, but the lookout cannot be rented this year.

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Elk Lake Campground, Humbug Campground and Fox Creek Group Campground are also open.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve completed in the last two years, but it’s probably gonna be another 5 to 10 years to get all of the other work associated with this completed,” Bishop said.

Bishop said the reopened trails may still have hazards from the fires.

“We’re asking people to really take on more of an active role in their safety and pay attention to the surroundings,” he said.

A section of the Pacific Crest Trail remains closed. The Forest Service plans to complete trail repairs between late August and early September.

Additionally, district ranger offices reopened Monday to in-person visitors after being closed for more than two years.

Visitors can now receive maps and trail information, and can purchase equipment and permits.

“We’re very much anxious and excited to get those areas of the forest open for the public to come and enjoy,” Bishop said.

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