Update 6/16/17: The Forest Service has reversed its decision to close Cultus Lake Campground and it now appears that camping will proceed as normal.
In a move that is causing all sorts of inconveniences for campers and at least one business owner, the Deschutes National Forest has issued an immediate closure order on the Cultus Lake Campground, Day use Area, and Boat Ramp. Citing dangerous trees, the Forest Service has opted to close the majority of the lakeside resort area to summer campers in a last minute move that is sure to infuriate many whom had long standing vacation plans at the lake.
What is confusing about the whole situation, is that out of nowhere the Forest Service has suddenly identified “460” trees that pose a hazard to public safety. So between now and last September, 460 trees miraculously became a potential threat to visitors. And nevermind that fact that they have had over 8 months to create a plan to deal with these problematic trees.
So why not remove the trees? Please see Exhibit A: The Spotted Owl. No joke, you can’t make this stuff up. The Spotted Owl might use some of these trees as part of its breeding habitat so the Forest Service states that they must wait until the breeding season is over, which is conveniently at the very end of camping season in September.
Now we are all for protecting wildlife her at Muddy Camper, but this all smells a little fishy to us. The whole “Spotted Owl” argument is just lazy on the Forest Service’s part. If they want to close the area for safety concerns, just admit that they screwed up and campers have been camping under dangerous trees for years and they just now realized it. Admit that they lack the resources to remove these trees and don’t blame it on some breeding season of one of North America’s most elusive creatures.
The whole thing stinks. Makes you wonder if the owners of Cultus Lake Resort pissed off the wrong person somewhere along the line. Anyways, the main takeaway is that due to the incompetence on the Deschutes National Forest and a phantom bird, your summer vacation plans at Cultus Lake are now as non-existent as the Spotted Owl.
To keep up with developments on this situation check out the Cultus Lake Resort Facebook Page.
Here is the official Cultus Lake Page from the Deschutes National Forest Service.