PENDLETON — The Umatilla National Forest on Friday, June 10, announced in a press release it temporarily reclosed a portion of Forest Service Road 54 due to road damage from recent rainfall and flooding.
FSR 54, also known as Pearson Creek Road, is approximately 10 miles southeast of Pilot Rock. The closure begins at mile post 1.5, near the intersection of East Birch Creek Road, south to the installed gate just east of the intersection of Forest Service Roads 54 and 5411.
Closure barriers and signs will be on the ground and visitors can take alternative routes into the area, including FSR 54 north from Highway 244 near Ukiah or FSR 5427 near Indian Lake. Detailed closure maps and updates on flood repair activities are available on the Forest website and at any Forest office.
FSR 54, which is a popular access route into the North Fork John Day Ranger District of the Umatilla National Forest, was initially damaged in the May 21, 2020, flood event. The North Fork John Day Ranger District temporarily closed 13 miles of FSR 54 following the flooding. Between 2020 and the recent flooding the past few weeks, Forest Service officials restored access on 4.5 miles of the road through two phases of contract work. Road repairs in early 2021 restored road conditions in the residential portion of FSR 54 between East Birch Creek and milepoint 0.6. The second phase of road repairs restored access to milepoint 4.5 within the Umatilla National Forest.
Forest Service staff are assessing on-the-ground damage to develop repair plans for reopening FSR 54. The Umatilla National Forest will share updates as work progresses and lift road closure as repairs are complete.
With continued rain in the forecast, Forest Service officials advise the public to use caution when traveling on the Umatilla National Forest as washouts or obstructions, such as rocks or boulders, could affect.roads and trails.
“Forest conditions can be dynamic this time of year and likely to change throughout the day and week,” according to the press release. “Visitors should plan ahead and contact their local ranger district prior to starting their trip.”
Many places in the Blue Mountains have limited or no cell phone coverage. Forest visitors should be prepared to spend the night in the forest with warm clothing, food, personal hygiene items and plenty of water. The public can monitor the Umatilla National Forest Facebook page and website, www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla, for updates on forest conditions and flood repair activities.
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