U.S. Forest Service officials have announced the lower campground loop at the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area will be permanently closed and the area converted for other uses.
The loop was administratively closed on March 21, 2012 after heavy rains submerged the campground and damaged property.
“The safety of our Forest visitors is important to us,” said Terry Krasko, staff officer for public services. “The Lower Loop has historic and repeated problems with flooding and cannot be counted on as a safe, reliable camping location for the recreating public. The danger of flash floods is a risk to campers, staff and first responders.”
While the 2012 flooding did not result in any injuries to forest visitors or staff, the water rose 13 feet in one hour, according to District Ranger Jim McCoy.
McCoy reiterated to the Leader that safety is the first concern of forest officials. Darkness makes it difficult to ensure safety of campers, therefore officials are considering various ways the area can be converted for day use only. Public input will be gathered to collect ideas and develop a range of alternatives, which could include a mountain bike trail head with bike service area.