BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest has closed several areas to the public, in an effort to protect critical winter habitat for local wildlife, "This is a really important time for those deer and elk to maintain their ability to get forage to make it through the winter," says Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service, "And, constant disturbance really impacts their survival rate; their ability to reproduce."
Nelson Dean tells KBND News it’s important to make sure wildlife can access food, as snow moves into the mountains, "They come down closer to us this time of year, because that’s what they’re seeking is that forage that is in some of those less snowy places." She says there are four closures: "The Metolius Winter Range, the Opine Travel Management Area, the Tumalo Winter Range and the Cabin/Silver Lake area. And, you can go to our website and get maps for those closures."
Snow gates are also now closed near Three Creek Sno-Park, on the Sisters Ranger District, and Tumalo Falls, on the Bend Fort Rock Ranger District.