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Some wildlife areas reopen to overnight camping today

SALEM, Ore.— Some ODFW wildlife areas that allow overnight camping will reopen to camping beginning tonight, Wednesday, May 20.

Western Oregon wildlife areas don’t allow overnight camping so the change applies only to some eastern Oregon wildlife areas.

Below is the list of ODFW wildlife areas that will once again allow overnight camping. Note that only Elkhorn, Wenaha and Summer Lake maintain established campgrounds; the other wildlife areas offer dispersed camping. Wildlife areas open to visitors at 4 a.m. If restrooms are present on these areas, they may not be maintained daily and are not supplied with hand sanitizer so visitors are reminded to bring their own supplies.

Bridge Creek Wildlife Area, Umatilla and Morrow counties

Elkhorn Wildlife Area, Baker and Union counties

Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area, Wasco County

Lostine Wildlife Area, Wallowa County

Philip W Schneider Wildlife Area, Grant County

Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area, Crook County

Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Lake County

White River Wildlife Area, Wasco County

Wenaha Wildlife Area, Wallowa County

Visitors to wildlife areas and other outdoor recreation areas in the state are reminded to:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Check for access before you go. Even iffishing and hunting are open, the boat ramp or natural area where you want to go might be closed. ODFW does not control access to land or facilities it doesn’t manage, so check with the land manager or facility owner where you want to go about what’s open before you leave home.
  • Stick close to home. Don’t travel far to hunt or fish. Wildlife areas are opening to camping but other lodging/campgrounds may not be.
  • Be prepared. Restrooms and other facilities may be more limited. Bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, food, etc. Buy your license online before you go.
  • Avoid crowds. Go someplace else if your destination looks crowded.
  • Practice social distancing. Keep six feet between you and anyone who doesn’t live in your immediate household, including while on a boat or at a fish cleaning station.
  • Wash your hands often. Keep up on personal hygiene and bring your own water, soap, and hand sanitizer with you.
  • Pack out what you pack in. Take any garbage with you, including disposable gloves and masks.

Wildlife areas never closed to day-use, but overnight camping was closed on March 22 as part of COVID-19 precautions. Visitors to wildlife areas are reminded they need a parking permit at many of these wildlife areas, which can be purchased online. The permit also comes with the purchase of an annual hunting license. Note that black bear and turkey hunting seasons continue until May 31 on many of these eastern Oregon wildlife areas.


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