PORTLAND, Ore. — As hundreds of thousands of acres burn across Oregon, the state parks are largely unscathed.
"We're very, very grateful and thankful for the firefighters and first responders, as well as volunteers and staff," said Jo Niehaus of the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department (OPRD). "Without them, we really would have had more damage."
OPRD estimates about 900 acres have burned within the park system, with minimal damage to well-known landmarks and recreation sites.
"We are lucky, very much so," Niehaus said.
Parks face compounded challenges from wind storms during the second week of September, on top of staffing shortages during COVID-19.
As of Saturday, 24 parks remained closed. OPRD updates park status online.
OPRD is still assessing damage around the state, but released this preliminary list:
- Silver Falls
125 acres burned on the SE part of the park. Contained at this time.
- Detroit Lake State Recreation Area:
Minor damage along some campground loops closer to the highway.
Loss of one water storage tank.
40 acres burned.
- North Santiam State Recreation Area
120 acres burned.
Loss of some structures.
- Bonnie Lure State Recreation Area
40 acres burned.
- Collier Memorial State Park
400 acres burned.
Damage to historic museum and some equipment.
Loss of one historic cabin, wood shed, and host trailer.
- Wallowa Lake State Park
Wind damage to dock.
- Devil’s Lake State Park
No fire damage, but many trees down.
- Other coastal parks with trees down include Munson Creek Falls State Natural Site, Sitka Sedge State Natural Area, Cape Lookout State Park, Beverly Beach State Park, William M. Tugman and many areas of the Oregon Coast Trail are reported to have trees down as well.
Grant McOmie, host of Grant's Getaways on KGW, said it could take a long time before Oregon's travel and tourism industry recovers from the disaster. However, he said now is a good time of reflection.
"[We] really need to take stock of what we have here, the diversity of what we have here within a two-hour range, to be able to reach so many varied ecosystems," McOmie said. "It'll come back. It always comes back, but it's gonna require time, so be patient."
Other areas, aside from those in the wildfire concern areas, reopening on Saturday.