The North Fork John Day Ranger District has temporarily closed Olive Lake Campground until approximately June 30 while contractors work to clear hazard trees within the campground. This temporary closure includes portions of Forest Roads 10, 10-480 and 10-481 that access the campground, boat launch and east side of the lake. Portions of the popular lakeside trail 3169 are also closed within the area.
“We know that everyone loves Olive Lake and is eager to come up now that warm weather is here,” said District Ranger Paula Guenther. “We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding while we finish up this year’s hazard tree removal and get the campground ready for visitors.”
A mountain pine beetle outbreak at Olive Lake Campground severely impacted lodgepole pine spanning approximately 250 acres surrounding the lake. This infestation has resulted in large numbers of hazard trees in the campground that need to be removed before the area can be opened to the public. Hazard trees are dead or dying trees in areas where they could fall on forest visitors at picnic tables or in campsites, parked vehicles in day use areas or structures such as outhouses.
Umatilla National Forest staff began clearing hazard trees in 2020 on the road leading to and in areas surrounding the docks, boat ramp, picnic sites and campsites on the northeast side of the lake. The contract work this summer is the second phase to mitigate hazards caused by the mountain pine beetle infestation and will focus on clearing out the majority of the trees surrounding sites 1-14 and thinning out trees around sites 15-27 to reduce competition for nutrients, water and sunlight. The public is asked to respect the closure while work is ongoing.
Visitors are also reminded that the Olive Lake dam is an aging structure and the headgate on the intake to the historic Fremont Power waterline is inoperable. The Forest Service has tentative maintenance work planned around the dam this summer, including installing water level detection and an early warning detection alarm system.
A small portion of Olive Lake itself is closed, indicated by floating buoys that indicate the area off the dam where monitoring instruments and headgate controls are located. Visitors should be aware that late in the season, the hiking trail and spillway will be closed for public safety while contractors remove old logs and debris that threaten to block flow through the spillway.
Olive Lake is a popular mountain lake and campground located 12 miles west of Granite. The natural lake was deepened by a 30-foot-high dam built in the early 1900s by the Fremont Power Company to provide hydroelectric power, generated at the Fremont Powerhouse, to the then-booming gold mining community.
For more information about the closure areas or permitted recreation activities on Olive Lake, contact the North Fork John Day Ranger District at 541-427-3231.
The public is reminded that as sites reopen services may not be available. At Olive Lake, two outhouses are available at the north end of the campground. The forest cannot guarantee restrooms that are open will be routinely serviced and those utilizing these facilities are doing so at their own discretion. Forest visitors should come prepared with personal hygiene items, including hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Additionally, be prepared to pack out any items brought on site.
More information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.