BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest Service is closing Lava Lands Visitor Center on the Newberry National Volcanic Monument earlier than usual this year, on September 11, and it will reopen in May of 2018. Jean Nelson-Dean, of Deschutes National Forest, says the change in schedule is to make sure the Visitor Center roof can be replaced before the snow falls, and be updated to accommodate our weather better. "We're actually going to be building a pitched roof because the flat roof, essentially, you just get snow, and we've had some water damage, and so, it's been a project that's been in the works for quite a while, and so now, we are building the roof so we can protect our exhibits."
Nelson-Dean also says Lava Butte will stay open to motor vehicles and won't close until October first, like usual. "People can still go there and go up on the Butte, and experience the rest of the National Monument, it's just only the Visitors Center that's going to be closed." She also wants to reassure school groups that the Lava River Cave will stay open throughout the month of September.
Even though it's still hot outside, Nelson-Dean reminds us that the snow is coming soon, and Lava Lands needs the extra time in September in order to beat the weather. "Everything is open except for the Visitors Center, they'll still be able to go to Lava Butte, they'll still be able to enjoy the caldera, the cave, all those things that normally are open will continue to be open. We did plan this around what is traditionally our slowest part of the season as people have gone back to school."
In related news, the front office for Prineville BLM will also be closed temporarily for remodeling, starting Monday, August 28. The staff will move to the adjacent Ochoco National Forest building.