This year’s late snowfall has turned into significant rainfall, which means many rivers on the Umatilla National Forest are nearing their bank levels and at risk of flooding. Forest officials advise the public to use caution when traveling on the Forest, as roads and trails could be impacted by washouts or obstructions (such as rocks or boulders). The Umatilla National Forest’s most immediate areas of concern include the Grande Ronde, Umatilla and Walla Walla Rivers on the Walla Walla Ranger District and the North Fork John Day River on the North Fork John Day Ranger District. The National Weather Service is forecasting for continued concentrations of rainfall through Monday, April 8.
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. Forest Service staff will be patrolling and reporting any road obstructions, road washouts, or downed trees. 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