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About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 4, 2021)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2021
Jeﬀerson Park, famed alpine meadow,
mostly unburned after wildﬁres
Salem Statesman Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK
It appears that the alpine meadows
and mountain lakes of Jeﬀerson Park, a
beloved alpine hideaway tucked at the
base of Mount Jeﬀerson, is looking pret-
ty good after the Lionshead Fire blew
through last September.
In the aftermath of last year’s Labor
Day Fires, Salem and Oregon residents
have been curious about how their fa-
vorite places fared and in many cases,
the news was not positive.
Places including Opal Creek, Olallie
Lake to Shellburg Falls were all heavily
impacted, some are closed long-term
and most are unlikely to look the same
in a person’s lifetime.
But that doesn’t appear to apply to
Jeﬀerson Park, among the most scenic
locations in the Oregon backcountry,
according to a person who chartered an
airplane to ﬂy over it and a mountain
climber who snapped a picture from the
summit of Jeﬀerson.
Both report that while the land sur-
rounding the park is severely burned –
including Whitewater and Woodpecker
trails – the park itself is largely green
and doesn’t appear to have suﬀered
much ﬁre impact.
“Looking down from the summit, you
could see that the ﬁre deﬁnitely burned
up to that area, but around the lakes and
meadow it was still pretty green,” said
Portland-based climber Andrew De La
Bruere, 31, who summited Jeﬀerson ear-
lier this month and got a picture from
Jeﬀerson Park is roughly one mile
long north to south and three miles wide
east to west, and is home to ﬁve main
lakes and sweeping wildﬂower-ﬁlled
meadows. It’s closed now, but can be
reached with a 6- to 8-mile hike from
multiple locations when open, the best-
known being via Whitewater Trail. In
recent years it has been frequently ﬁlled
with tents and is known as one of the
best backpacking spots in Oregon.
The odd name was bestowed by
famed traveler Judge John B. Waldo,
who stopped there in 1870. Previously, it
was called Hanging Valley, “a name
lacking in descriptive quality and ap-
propriateness,” according to “Oregon
Geographic Names.” Hence the new
Continued from Page 1
The thing that’s made this trail so
popular over the years is that it’s just 2.2
miles and 800 feet of climb to reach Pa-
melia Lake, cradled in a big green valley,
with Mount Jeﬀerson rising overhead.
From there, we turned onto Grizzly
Peak Trail and climbed toward its for-
ested summit. The full hike is 10 miles
round-trip with 2,700 feet of climb.
An image of Jefferson Park, in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, taken July of 2021, showing little to no ﬁre damage from
the Lionshead Fire. PHOTO BY ANDREW DE LA BRUERE
From the top of Jeﬀerson, De La
Bruere said he could see Russell Lake
well, but not Scout, Park, Rock or Bays
However, his description matched
that of Wes Baker, who chartered a ﬂight
over much of the burn area earlier this
summer. Baker documented most of the
locations in pictures, but was only able
to see Jeﬀerson Park, and not photo-
graph it, due to turbulence.
“Most of the (northern) Mount Jef-
ferson Wilderness was pretty burned
overall,” Baker said, noting that places
such as Whitewater Trail and Triangu-
lation Peak were now almost ‘double
burned,’ as the Lionshead Fire burned
right across the scar left by the 2017
Whitewater Fire. “When we ﬂew over
Park Ridge and into Jeﬀerson Park you
could tell it was diﬀerent. There were
large areas that didn’t look burned at all.
I’d say that it’s safe to assume Jeﬀerson
Park is OK.”
The U.S. Forest Service, which man-
ages the wilderness area, has not com-
mented on the state of Jeﬀerson Park or
any of the other burned areas. Most re-
cently oﬃcials said they could not safe-
ly get into the backcountry due to ﬁre
“I do not have any pictures or a status
report from the district ranger,” Willam-
ette National Forest spokeswoman
Tammy Robinson said.
Interest has been high about the fate
of Jeﬀerson Park ever since the ﬁres.
That was reﬂected after De La Bruere
posted pictures of his climb and got a
big response on social media.
“I wasn’t expecting it to get the reac-
tion it did, but a lot of people were very
excited to see it looking green,” he said.
“It was cool to see it and then see how
happy other people were.”
Zach Urness has been an outdoors re-
porter, photographer and videographer
in Oregon for 13 years. To support his
work, subscribe to the Statesman Jour-
nal. Urness is the author of “Best Hikes
with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking South-
ern Oregon.” He can be reached at
(503) 399-6801. Find him on Twitter at
of my favorite places go up in ﬂames last
year, I’m not longer taking these spots
As we climbed higher onto Grizzly
Peak, it was a glorious thing to be trav-
eling entirely in the shade and intact
forest. The summit itself features a
postcard-worthy view of Mount Jeﬀer-
son, but trees limit views to the north
and south, where you’d see the scars.
This is, indeed, a hike where you can
completely forget the wildﬁres that have
marked the Jeﬀ Wilderness and enjoy
the shady green forest, if only for a few
Fire came close in 2017 and 2020
Pamelia Lake/Grizzly Peak hike
The lack of ﬁre damage in the Pame-
lia Lake Valley is a combination of luck
and hard work from ﬁre crews.
In 2017, the Whitewater Fire came
right to the edge of the Pamelia Creek
valley, but thanks to a ﬁre line created
by ﬁre crews, it never spilled down into
the valley, according to ﬁre oﬃcials that
Last year’s Lionshead Fire also blast-
ed past just north of the valley, but in-
stead of moving south toward Pamelia,
it burned west toward Detroit and north
toward Olallie Lake.
In other words, Pamelia has gotten a
little bit lucky. And after watching many
In a nutshell: An easy and pretty
hike to a mountain lake in the Mount
Jeﬀerson Wilderness with an added
climb to a knockout view of Mount Jef-
Permits: A day use or overnight per-
mit is required in advance from Recrea-
Season: July to October
Round-Trip: 4.4 miles round-trip to
Pamelia Lake; 10 miles to Grizzly Peak
High point/Elevation gain: 800 feet
to Pamelia Lake, 2,700 to Grizzly Peak.
Pamelia Lake and Grizzly Peak are two of the last areas in the Mount Jefferson
Wilderness that haven't been recently impacted by wildﬁre. The trail showcases
old-growth forest, tumbling Pamelia Creek, Pamelia Lake and Grizzly Peak's view
of Mount Jefferson. ZACH URNESS / STATESMAN JOURNAL
Directions: Follow Highway 22 east
of Salem to Detroit. Continue on High-
way 22 approximately 12.5 miles to Pa-
melia Creek Road (Forest Road 2246).
Turn left onto Forest Road 2246, travel 5
miles to end of road. Trailhead parking
is on the left.
Zach Urness has been an outdoors
reporter, photographer and videogra-
pher in Oregon for 13 years. Urness can
be reached at zurness@StatesmanJour
nal.com or (503) 399-6801. Find him on
Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.
Dockside Charters: (541) 765-2545.
Tradewinds Charters: (800) 445-8730.
Newport Marina Store & Charters:
(541) 867-4470. Website: www.nmschar-
Newport Tradewinds: (541) 265-2101.
Yaquina Bay Charters: (541) 265-6800.
Item 2: The next minus-tide series for
clammers,good, not great, is early morn-
ings Aug. 7, a Saturday, through Aug. 10.
You can look up the times and tides for
the hot spots on the coast online at Tide
Location Selection for Oregon (saltwater-
And, as always, be sure to check before
heading out by calling the Oregon Depart-
ment of Agriculture’s go online to the
State of Oregon: Shellﬁsh - Recreational
Shellﬁsh Biotoxin Closures
Thought for the week: The current
“knock oﬀ at 2 p.m.” ﬁshing restrictions
because of hot water cuts hours oﬀ of not
Contact Henry via email at Henry
Continued from Page 1
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“Easy Online Arrangements”
Apparently Kay and I aren’t the only
ones who had a soft spot for Harry, the
late, much-lamented mostly Jack Russell
terrier that shuﬄed oﬀ this mortal coil
More than a dozen readers have writ-
ten much-appreciated sentiments about
Harry’s death after the past week’s col-
umn about the little guy.
To lift your spirits after all of the above,
here’s what’s happening on the fun side.
Item 1: Ocean salmon anglers have
been averaging more than one ﬁsh a per-
son out of Depoe Bay and Newport, ac-
cording to catch statistics through July 18
compiled by the Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife and more recent reports
from charter operators.
To check out what’s going on, or to
make a reservation: