Flood repair activities begin on the Umatilla National Forest
April 23, 2020
PENDLETON–Contractors have begun work on Forest Service Road 47 in the Tucannon watershed, which will continue over the next several weeks following the widespread damage caused by the flooding event on Feb. 6, 2020.
The planned work includes debris slide removal, temporary repair of damaged pavement, and restoration of drainage features. The main objective of this work is to provide safe administrative access for land management agencies to continue to develop repair plans. However, once the work is completed, Forest staff will determine if it is safe to allow public access on specific sections of the road. The Forest will notify the public of the evaluation results upon completion.
In addition to the upcoming work along the Tucannon River, Forest staff have submitted a request for Emergency Relief for Federally-Owned Roads (ERFO) funds through the Federal Highway Administration to complete repairs in each of these watersheds. The Forest will prioritize and complete temporary repair work to gain access to certain parts of the forest as weather and funding permits.
The public is reminded that road and trail closures are in place in the watersheds that received the heaviest impacts. These areas include the Tucannon, Umatilla, and South Fork Walla Walla Rivers.
Detailed closure maps and updates on flood repair activities are available on the Forest website and at any Forest office. Closure signs will also be posted on the ground.
Umatilla National Forest officials urge forest visitors to plan ahead and contact their local ranger district prior to starting their trip. Most forest roads are still not accessible due to mud, snow or snow drifts. In addition, traveling on thawing, saturated, and muddy roads can result in resource damage and serious safety concerns, especially if visitors are unprepared. Forest conditions are dynamic this time of year and likely to change throughout the day and week. The public is encouraged to monitor the Umatilla National Forest Facebook page and website for updates on flooding.
As a reminder, many places in the Blue Mountains have limited or no cell phone coverage. Forest visitors should always be prepared to spend the night in the forest with warm clothing, food and plenty of water. Before heading out, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.