Out & About

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter



Herman Creek campground closed due to safety concern

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. — Herman Creek campground in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is closed for the summer of 2014.

The Forest Service says more than 30 trees in the seven-site campground are infected with laminated root rot. The disease has the potential to cause healthy looking trees to fall without warning.

The campground is just east of Cascade Locks.

A plan for the camp will be developed to deal with the removal of the diseased trees. Conifer trees resistant to root rot will be planted, however the atmosphere of the campground will more open in the short term.

Herman Creek camp is popular with equestrians. Herman Creek trailhead is not affected by the closure. The camp will be reopened once the Forest Service determines the safety hazard has been eliminated.

Night closures scheduled at bridge across Swift Creek

COUGAR — Lewis River road No. 90 at the bridge across Swift Creek will be closed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. between May 28 and June 11.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest said damaged bridge joints need to be repaired. The bridge is about 7 miles east of Cougar.

There is no practical location for a detour route.

Road No. 90 is a key east-west route through the forest and receives a large amount of traffic most of the year.

Inspections last summer identified the need to replace two bridge joints on the 1970s-era bridge. Pavement also will be placed at each end.

Tom Mulder, manager of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, said having night-only closures and waiting until after Memorial Day weekend is intended to minimize disruption to travelers.

Opening day of fishing season at Swift Reservoir is June 7.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awards grants in Washington

Nine counties in Washington will receive nearly $180,000 in financing for habitat projects and research from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Money will be spent in Cowlitz County to aerial spray 75 acres, plant 15,000 trees and shrubs and seed 50 aces to decrease noxious weeds and increase elk forage on the Mudflow unit of the Mount St. Helens State Wildlife area along the upper North Fork of the Toutle River.

Money will be spent in Skamania County to compete 222 acres of restoration at four meadows. Work will include removing four miles of barbed wire fencing and installing boulders and a gate to prevent motorized access to three of the meadows in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Financing also will be provided for a study to assess the changes in elk carrying capacity near Mount St. Helens.

Elk Foundation money also is helping pay for lab analysis, sample supplies and sample shipment of calf elk tissue to address hoof disease.