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About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 4, 2021)
| WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2021 | 1B
Pamelia Lake, Grizzly Peak oﬀer
unburned hike in Jeﬀerson Wilderness
The Pamelia Lake and Grizzly Peak trails are two spots in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness that have not been burned by wildﬁre recently. The trail features Pamelia
Creek, Pamelia Lake and Grizzly Peak's view of Mount Jefferson. PHOTOS BY ZACH URNESS/STATESMAN JOURNAL
Zach Urness | Salem Statesman Journal | USA TODAY NETWORK
he most striking thing about a hike to Pamelia Lake and Grizzly Peak is that for at least a few hours, or approximately 10 miles round-trip,
you can forget about the wildﬁres that increasingly mark the Mount Jeﬀerson Wilderness. The old-growth forest and crystalline creek,
the green valley that cradles the lake and the 5,700-foot peak that rises above all look basically the same as they did a few decades ago.
The same can’t be said for a majority of trails surrounding Oregon’s second-tallest mountain.
The Jeﬀerson Wilderness has been hit by seven
wildﬁres since 2000, including three of the most infa-
mous in state history — the B&B Complex (2003),
Whitewater Fire (2017) and Lionshead Fire (2020).
The result is that much, if not most, of this back-
country has been impacted by ﬁre. The northern half
of the wilderness is currently closed due to Lionshead
Fire damage — and is likely to remain that way for 1 to 3
years — while the southern half is marked by numer-
Wildﬁre and burn scars are a natural and important
part of the ecosystem, and I’ve done a lot of fun explor-
ing in them over the past few years, including in the
Eight Lakes Basin. It’s fascinating to watch the ways a
forest responds to such a powerful disturbance over
the short- and long-term.
But there’s also something really nice about hiking
and backpacking an unburned route, through the full
shade of old-growth forest to an alpine lake and moun-
tain peak with nary a blackened tree nor singed un-
Permits and getting onto
the trail at Pamelia
Pamelia Lake has long been one of the Jeﬀ ’s most
popular hikes and backpacking spots, which is why
you’ve needed a special permit to visit since 1994.
The idea back then was to limit the number of peo-
ple allowed in so that the forested lake wasn’t overrun.
The idea worked so well that the program was expand-
ed this year to the entire Jeﬀ, Three Sisters and Mount
Washington wilderness areas.
Permits were released in one batch earlier this
spring, and then on a rolling 7-day window during the
To get one, just log onto Recreation.gov seven days
before the date you want — be sure to pick either a day
trip or overnight trip, since there are diﬀerent permits
for each. I picked a day hike, printed oﬀ the permits
and was oﬀ to the forest with three members of my
family who were visiting from Minnesota.
Drive through burn and into forest
The drive up Highway 22 through the Santiam Can-
yon is looking greener and somewhat more normal
since the Labor Day Fires, but it was still striking for
visitors to see the sheer size of the burn scar.
At just under 400,000 acres combined, the Lion-
shead and Beachie Creek ﬁres were the fourth-largest
wildﬁre in state history (it was recently surpassed by
this year’s Bootleg Fire), and the fact that its scar
stretches all the way from Mount Jeﬀerson to Lyons
and Silver Falls — a distance of just over 40 miles — is
After driving past Detroit, evidence of the ﬁre faded
away as we turned left onto Pamelia Creek Road and
began hiking down a trail highlighted by old-growth
Douglas ﬁr, hemlock and western red cedar, while Pa-
melia Creek bounced clear and cool down small water-
See PATH, Page 2
What and how to know before you go — ﬁshing, that is
Special to Salem Statesman Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK
Consider this your one-stop online shopping site for
outdoor recreational buzz-kills.
Or not, depending on what you ﬁnd there.
Chin-up, happy campers.
While I think of myself as an upbeat, glass-half-full
kind of person, one can’t be too careful given the current
state of the world.
Which is why, in addition to the weather forecast
Portland, OR (weather.gov) , road conditions and clo-
sures Road & Weather Conditions Map | TripCheck -
Oregon Traveler Information and ﬁres NWCC :: Home
(nifc.gov) there is one other site that you should look into
before heading out.
The Oregon Health Authority oﬀers a buﬀet of links
for potential hazards and closures that is a must-visit for
outdoor recreation enthusiasts, particularly if you’re go-
ing to be making a long drive to get to where you want to
Check it out at Oregon Health Authority : Recreational
Advisories : Public Health News and Advisories : State of
As an example of the beneﬁts of knowing before you
go, remember the infamous Salem drinking-water ban in
May 2018 caused by a toxic algae bloom at Detroit Lake?
There’s a link on the OHA page to algae-bloom ad-
Next up is a link to what we in the newsroom used to
refer to in the vernacular as “poop alerts,” but more accu-
rately are known as beach water quality advisories.
On three-week cycles from Memorial Day through La-
bor Day, water at selected Oregon beaches is sampled for
fecal bacteria, and when levels reach alert levels, signs
Signs like this go up when there are closures for
shellﬁsh such as clams and mussels. HENRY
MILLER/SPECIAL TO THE STATESMAN JOURNAL
are posted at the site, and information is listed on the
website as well as through texts on mobile devices.
If I may be allowed a moment of levity - and who
couldn’t use it at this point? - you want to go tide-pool-
ing, not tide pooping.
Both the cyanobacteria blooms and beach water qual-
ity links have disclaimers that because of budget and
staﬃng constraints, not every beach or water body in the
state is checked.
But there is a lot of great information about what to
watch for if you suspect there might be algae issues; and
the beach monitoring page has a complete list of sam-
pling sites from Seaside to Brookings.
Lastly, there is a link to ﬁsh and shellﬁsh closures and
sport ﬁsh and shellﬁsh consumption advisories, the lat-
ter of which also are available on pages 22 and 23 of the
2021 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
Why the need for such due diligence?
Not once, but twice, admittedly over the course of
three decades, I made the drive from Salem to the coast
when clamming, in the ﬁrst instance, and to collect mus-
sels in the second case, both of which were open.
Only to arrive with cooler, shovels, rakes and other
tools in hand to ﬁnd that the clamming/mussel-gather-
ing sites were closed because of health advisories.
To save time and avoid multiple web searches, there
is a link on the Oregon Health Authority website to sign
up for alerts via email or text message.
The intent here is not to be a summer bummer, to
throw shade on your whoopees.
But given the current weather, water conditions, ﬁres,
drought and heat waves in the Beaver State (what’s next,
locusts?), it pays to be on the safe side.
Belated birthday wishes
A mutual acquaintance informed me on Sunday that
it was Kerry Elwood’s birthday.
I met Elwood, of Salem, in 2014 when I did a story
about his construction of the “Water Woody” houseboat
that was launched that 4th of July weekend.
If you want to see an example of his craftsmanship,
including his nonpareil airbrush art, check out his web-
site at https://www.waterwoody.com
Thanks for the memories
See MILLER, Page 2