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Willamette National Forest assessing damage from winter storm

The historic storm downed thousands of trees across the area, especially in the Willamette National Forest.

Posted: Mar 28, 2019 6:15 PM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- The Willamette National Forest will be working on a damage assessment for their campgrounds, trails and forest lands over the next two weeks after last month's winter storm devastated the landscape.

The historic storm downed thousands of trees across the area, especially in the Willamette National Forest.

LESSONS LEARNED: Snowstorm sheds light on disaster preparedness

Tammy Robinson with the U.S. Forest Service said before they can get to work, they have to figure out where to start.

"We have done some vehicle patrols to assess some damages, but we can get a better view from the air," Robinson said.

RELATED: Team Rubicon helping McKenzie Bridge recover after winter storm

They'll have crews on the ground and in the air, getting an overlook of the damages at campsites, trails, forest roads and Forest Service facilities.

"We don't know the specific statistics, but there are a lot of downed trees," Robinson said. "So, we're really advising people to know before you go, just because we don't know what those roads are looking like. There's still a lot of snow in a lot of the forested areas. Because the snowstorm is gone doesn't mean there aren't any effects from the snow."

READ MORE: Cascades Raptor Center reopening after winter storm

KEZI 9 News spoke with Mike Diamond and Cat Earley, two hikers who have seen those effects firsthand.

"The most damage we saw was around Cougar Reservoir on Forest Road 19, where we were going up around the reservoir, and all the sudden there was pine trees in front of us," Earley said.

Those downed trees impacted their hike as well.

"Maybe like 45 minutes to go the first mile, then as we got onto the trailhead, maybe another 45 minutes to go the second half-mile," Diamond said. "About the same time coming back. It was a pretty surreal experience."

MORE: Downed trees creating dangers for boaters after winter storm

Before you go camping or fishing at any campsites or hiking on any trails, the Willamette National Forest asks that you check their Twitter or their website to know the conditions before you go.

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