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Limited Camping Reopens at Fire-Damaged Detroit Lake State Recreation Area

The rest of the park’s campgrounds will need to be rolled out gradually to give Oregon State Parks and Rec time to make repairs and clear brush.

Starting today, you can stay overnight at the Detroit Lake State Recreation Area, which has been closed since last September’s devastating wildfire.

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department reopened reservations at some campsites for up to six months in advance. Loops F and G are the first to welcome back visitors, with the former offering proximity to one of the site’s boat moorings.

The rest of the park’s nearly 300 total campgrounds will be rolled out gradually to give the agency time to make repairs and clear out burned vegetation. On May 28, Loops A, B and parts of C and D will go back online, followed by the rest of C Loop and Loops E and H on June 18.

Most of the town of Detroit—located about 50 miles east of Salem along Highway 22—was leveled by the Santiam Canyon Fire. High winds during the tail end of Labor Day weekend fueled the blaze, which ultimately killed five people and wasn’t contained until December 2020.

The park suffered far less damage than the nearby town.

“For the most part, visitors won’t notice anything different from previous years,” park manager Bob Rea stated in a press release. “Restoring drinking water soon as possible was our top priority.”

The property’s water tank will need to be replaced this fall, but the agency believes that the repairs they made over the last few months will get Detroit Lake through its busy summer season.

Visitors are reminded they should continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines while visiting all state parks and have a plan B in case the location they want to use is too crowded.