WWNF Public Use Restrictions Lifted

   With cool conditions prevailing across the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, general public use restrictions are no longer in effect as of October 14.

   Forest visitors are still urged to continue using caution and to follow Smokey Bear's fire safety tips. To learn more, visit the Forest Service website, the Blue Mountain Fire Info blog, or the Blue Mountain Interagency Fire Center website.

Idaho Power Campgrounds

     Spring and Summer camping fees are now in effect at Idaho Power parks in Hells Canyon. Fees range from $10 for a tent space to $16 for an RV space. Discounts are available for seniors and veterans.

     For a full rate schedule, maps, and other park information, visit the Parks link at the Idaho Power website.

     You may now make in-season campsite reservations on-line as much as nine months in advance. There is a $10 fee for reserving on-line, and they may be made for visits scheduled between the first Friday in April through the last Sunday in October. A phone reservation option is also available for $15; call 1-844-472-7275.

     Smaller overnight campsites are not included in the reservation system. In Hells Canyon, Carter's Landing and Moonshine Mine remain available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Water Safety

    If you are going to spend time on the water, the Baker County Sheriff's Office would like to remind boat operators and passengers to pack extra supplies and be prepared for water-related outings. Weather can change drastically in a matter of hours, and water rescues are especially dangerous at night due to decreased visibility and often high winds on the reservoir.

     Be sure to make friends and family members aware of your plans, including departure times and specific travel routes or destinations. This will significantly decrease rescue time if something happens. Plan ahead, be prepared, and enjoy your boating activities.

New Antlerless Elk Damage Tags

ODFW has announced that a new general season tag will replace 19 controlled hunts and the need to obtain specific landowner damage tags from local ODFW offices. Hunters will need permission to hunt on private land to use this tag, because the majority of land included is privately owned. No application is necessary, and this general season tag is available as long as the hunter has not purchased another tag, such as archery. The season runs August 1 to November 30 in Pine and Eagle valleys. For more information, call the ODFW Baker City Field Office at 541-523-5832, or visit the website.

ODFW Electronic Licensing System

     ODFW launched a new electronic licensing system on December 1, 2018, with the sale of 2019 licenses and tags. The system allows hunters and anglers to carry their documents electronically on their smart phone or tablet and tag fish and wildlife with a mobile app that will even work off-line. An FAQ about the system is available at the ODFW website.

Branch Library Hours

Halfway  541-742-5279

Tue    1-4pm

Thur   4-7pm

Fri     9am-12pm, 1-4pm

Sat    9am-12pm

Richland  541-893-6088

Mon   10-11:40am, 12-1:40pm

Tue    8-9:40am, 10-11:40am

Fri      10-11:40am, 12-1:40pm

Sat     9-10am, 10:20-11:40am

Brownlee Reservoir Update

     As of October 23, Brownlee Reservoir is at 2052 feet, 25 feet below full pool level of 2077. This depth allows access to all area boat ramps except Spring Recreation and Steck Park.

     The reservoir has been drawn down in preparation for fall Chinook operations, which will begin in mid-October.  The fall Chinook operations are designed to provide flat flows of approximately 8,500 cubic feet per second below Hells Canyon Dam from mid-October to early December, providing stable flows to benefit spawning fall Chinook salmon.

     For current reservoir elevation information, check the Idaho Power website.

 

Current Park Status

   Baker County's Hewitt and Holcomb parks on the Brownlee Reservoir are open, as are all Idaho Power Company campgrounds, parks, boat ramps, and recreation access sites.  Restroom buildings and showers at campgrounds remain closed; portable toilets are in place and are serviced regularly. Idaho Power asks all visitors to follow social-distancing guidelines, including when they interact with Idaho Power staff. Demand for campsites has been high, so please visit the Idaho Power website to reserve a spot before heading out.

 

 

Health Advisory

Idaho DEQ has issued a health advisory for waters near the Big Bar camping area on Hells Canyon Reservoir and the Woodhead Park area in Brownlee Reservoir. Recent samples indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, commonly known as a toxic algae bloom, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Visitors are urged to use caution when recreating in or near the reservoirs: avoid swimming, wading, or other activities. Keep children, pets, and livestock from the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can actually increase risk. Wash hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water, and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. For more information, visit the Idaho DEQ website.

Eagle Bar Access Restricted

Public access to the Eagle Bar recreation site will be limited beginning July 15 through the spring of 2021. Idaho Power will be using the southern half of the area as a construction staging area for upgrades being performed on the Hells Canyon Dam hydroelectric plant. The boat launch will remain open and dispersed camping will still be allowed within a reduced area. Visit the Idaho Power website for updates and further information.

Kirkwood Creek Bridge Closure

   Hikers need to be aware that the bridge located at the Kirkwood Historic Ranch about 5.5 miles south of the National Recreation Trail #102 trailhead at Upper Pittsburg Landing is closed until further notice. Decayed wood supports and undermined concrete abutments were found during a routine inspection last fall. A new bridge is in process, but will most likely be built after the 2020 field season.

   An alternative crossing for hikers may be available at the footbridge near the mouth of the creek, approximately 300 feet downstream of the closed bridge. This is a small bridge, not suitable for stock use, and high water flows during the spring may submerge the deck at times.

   For more information, contact the Forest Service offices in Joseph (541-426-5546) or Riggins (208-628-3916), or visit the website.

Photos courtesy of Hells Canyon Journal, Baker County Library Historical Archives,

Anna Brisk, Phil Wreden, Cindy Thayer, and Timothy Bishop of Base Camp Baker

News and event information courtesy of Hells Canyon Journal

 

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