Whitewater Trail remains closed as fire cleanup continues

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- The 2017 Whitewater Fire, which torched more than 14,000 acres in the Mount Jefferson Wildness Area, destroyed one of the most popular trails near Detroit.

On Wednesday, KOIN 6 News saw the damage of the Whitewater Trail, which is still closed and will be for the rest of the summer.

The road leading up to the trailhead is a mess -- trees continue to fall and hazards are all around.

USFS District Ranger Grady McMahan said, "We don't have a good idea yet how much trail work it's going to talk. Been waiting for the snows to melt off."

As one of the most popular trails people use to access Jefferson Park, the Forest Service has been feeling the pressure to get this trail up and running as soon as possible -- but they've run into issues when it comes to cleaning up the falling hazards.

"We had to cut in again in the spring because they fell down all winter," McMahan told KOIN 6 News.

According to the Forest Service, the Whitewater Fire started about 300 feet from the trail itself on a ridge. They believe it was caused by lightning.

"We lost a trailhead sign, a picnic table, things like that. Fortunately, our outhouse was okay," McMahan said.

The Forest Service will continue to fix majority of the Whitewater Trail this summer, and while they hope to open it by the fall, there's no way of being certain.

Follow Eileen Park on Twitter @EileenParkTV

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