The Deschutes National Forest is closing an area near Sisters to overnight campers because of long-term illegal camping.
The temporary closure will be in place for two years near Whychus Creek, just outside Sisters. Forest Service officials say many people were overstaying the 14-day camping limit. The area was prone to trash, poor sanitation and law enforcement problems like fights.
In the face of central Oregon’s affordable housing shortage, more and more people are turning to public lands, according to Jean Nelson-Dean, public affairs officer with the Deschutes National Forest.
“This is an issue that’s across the forest,” she said. “When people don’t have a place to live, and (given) the proximity of the national forest to our communities in Central Oregon, it becomes a place that people tend to go.”
The area around Whychus Creek will remain open for day use.