McKenzie Trail & Blue Pool reopening
September 7, 2016
MCKENZIE BRIDGE: The portions of the McKenzie River Trail that lead to Tamolitch Falls, commonly known as Blue Pool will reopen to the public on Thursday, September 8th. However, due to continued fire-related safety concerns, portions east of Blue Pool and the fire area remain closed - including Forest Service Roads 740 and 743. Officials said road work was completed Sunday on Forest Service Road 655 at the trailhead near Trail Bridge Campground and Carmen Reservoir. Parking is only allowed on the right side of the trailhead parking area near the Trail Bridge Campground.
“Now that the Blue Top Fire is safely contained away from the McKenzie River Trail, we have determined it is safe to re-open that section of trail,” said Terry Baker, McKenzie River District Ranger. “I really appreciate everyone’s patience during the closure.”
Open areas include the six-mile stretch of the McKenzie River Trail between the trailhead by Trail Bridge Campground and the trailhead at Carmen Reservoir. Forest Service Roads 735 and 738 have also re-opened.
Closures are in effect for all areas east of Blue Pool and the fire area as well as the Forest Service roads 740 and 743.
The Blue Top Fire continues to smolder and people using that section of trail should expect to see occasional smoke across the river until autumn rains extinguish the fire completely, according to a Forest Service spokesman. Firefighters from the McKenzie River Ranger Station continue to monitor the fire and unless someone sees a new fire start outside the Blue Top Fire area; there is no need to report it.
To help people understand the closure and to help ensure public safety, two Forest Service representatives will be stationed at the entrance to Forest Service Road 740. (Google Maps inaccurately directs visitors to Blue Pool using Forest Service road 740, however this route goes directly through areas burned by the Blue Top Fire and remain closed.) The Forest service is currently working with Google to correct that. There are two ways to access the trail to Blue Pool; from the trailhead near Trail Bridge Campground and from the trailhead at Carmen Reservoir.
In addition, two Forest Service representatives will be stationed at Blue Pool to provide information about the closure, intercept visitors trying to enter the closed area and help ensure safety. People going to the Blue Pool will be advised that even though the water appears to be inviting, it is a chilly 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Visitors to Blue Pool are encouraged to practice all Leave No Trace principles when they recreate on the McKenzie River Trail, but especially to properly dispose of waste.
For any questions about the closure, contact the McKenzie River Ranger Station, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 541-822-3381, or the website http://www.fs.usda.gov/willamette. People can also link up on Twitter and Facebook @willamettenf.
Image: Blue Pool
McKenzie River Reflections