Visitors are getting their first glimpse of Multnomah Falls following the Eagle Creek Fire, as Multnomah Falls Lodge reopens to the public.
The opening includes Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, front plaza, and the I-84 parking lot. This is the first phase to reconnect visitors to the Multnomah Falls Recreation Site since the area was evacuated the evening of Sept. 4, 2017, two days after the start of the Eagle Creek Fire. The recreation site, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is one of the most popular natural attractions in Oregon, hosting millions of visitors each year.
The lodge is operated by Multnomah Falls Company, Inc., a concessionaire that runs a restaurant, gift shop, and snack bar. The U.S. Forest Service owns the lodge building and operates an Information Center on the ground floor, staffed with support from the Friends of Multnomah Falls.
Visitors must access the lodge through the I-84 parking lot, which is operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation. When parking is full, the gate to the I-84 parking lot will close. Travelers are asked to respect gate closures and use caution on the Interstate.
The lodge will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, except in cases of inclement weather.
Damage to the lodge itself was limited to smoke damage and minor repairs, however measures were needed to protect the facility from falling rocks, trees, and other debris. Rock scaling has been underway. Nearby waterfall viewing areas – including the popular lower viewing platform -- and the surrounding trail system remain closed until the next round of repairs is completed. The next phase of reopening focuses on the lower viewing platform of the falls. A contractor must complete hazard tree falling, rock scaling, and rebuilding of the upper rock catchment fence before the platform will be considered for public access.
The remainder of the trail to the widely recognized century-old Benson Bridge and the upper falls area will require further repairs, including the replacement of a small wooden bridge known as Shady Creek Bridge and any additional trail repairs discovered once a full trail assessment has been completed. Nearby Benson State Recreation Area will also remain closed to protect public safety.
The U.S. Forest Service is working in collaboration with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation to mitigate hazards in the vicinity of the Eagle Creek Fire burned area in order to reopen roadways and recreation sites affected by the Eagle Creek Fire when it is safely feasible to do so.
Source: U.S. Forest Service