Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

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teperilloux
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by teperilloux » September 21st, 2017, 1:40 pm

Thank you for the photos and lengthy descriptions.

It's amazing I hiked the most damaged areas with my kids all within a couple weeks before the fire (Oneonta, the arch, Eagle Creek). Thankfully I took lots of photos so the kids have them for the future. Doesn't do much to assuage my sadness however. If the damage to Oneonta is real, the gorge will fill up with trees and rendered unhikeable for my lifetime. I can't really get my head around that one.

Rather B Hiking
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by Rather B Hiking » September 21st, 2017, 3:11 pm

I have driven I-84 westbound a few times since it reopened. Can't stop for photos, or even slow down enough for a good look, but the rain is starting to wash away enough soot to see what might still be at least slightly green.

Entrance to Eagle Creek looks very damaged - no surprise there. The picnic shelter in the overlook area may be destroyed. Someone already posted a photo of the suspension bridge, where Gorge 400 discharges onto the Eagle Creek access road.

There is a band of nearly complete destruction from the Tooth Rock viaduct on the old Gorge highway up to Wauna Viewpoint and Wauna Point, also running up diagonally from Wauna Viewpoint to where the high voltage lines go up toward Tanner Butte. The Tooth Rock viaduct appears to be sagging, but that may just be an optical illusion from the viewing angle. A large bare spot above the viaduct is likely to result in major landslides, and Gorge 400 through this stretch is probably a mess. FS road 777, which provides access to the Tanner Butte trail and points beyond, roughly follows the high voltage lines, so probably significant damage there.

Tanner Creek appears to be heavily damaged, at least the portion visible from I-84. It does indeed have a trail, going past Munra Falls to Wahclella Falls. It is a short trail, but Wahclella is one of the hidden treasures of the Gorge.

The east side of Munra Point has only scattered burning, but the west side is in very rough shape. Some severe burning is visible at the mouth of Moffett Creek, but I can't tell how far back it goes.

The fire jumped across to the north side of I-84 in several places between Tanner Creek and exit 35. Lots of charred earth and tree stumps in this area. It looks like the recently restored section of the old Gorge highway took some damage here. The trail to Elowah Falls (same trailhead as Nesmith) was already prone to slides - TKO and PCTA did major work there this year - so that is probably another mess, along with the lower portion of the Nesmith trail.

The houses in Dodson all look OK, but all of the cliff faces to the south, including Rock of Ages and St. Peter's Dome, look very charred and bare.

Horsetail Falls and the Oneonta Gorge look very heavily damaged. This is the area where the fire jumped the river to Archer Mountain - it must have been burning very hot to throw embers that far. The only plus is that many of the cottonwoods in this area burned, so there will be better views of Horsetail and Oneonta from I-84. Yesterday there was heavy equipment taking out some of the burned cottonwoods farther west.

Patchy burning from Oneonta to Multnomah. I would have thought that Multnomah Falls would have a cooling effect, but much of the soft vegetation appears to be burned off, especially on the western side of the falls. Benson Bridge appears intact, and based on the patchy burn pattern, the lower Larch Mountain trail and Gorge 400 (which runs fairly close to I-84 here) may be largely intact.

The area surrounding Wahkeena Falls looks heavily charred. This is another area that could stand to have a rest from the hordes of flip floppers. Let's hope the slides don't take down all those rock walls again!

Several photos have been posted to show the heavy damage near the top of Angels Rest. The area around Bridal Veil and the trailhead does not look that bad.

Mosses and soft vegetation are burned off from many of the rock surfaces throughout the Gorge. I have no idea how resilient those are to fire.

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greglief
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by greglief » September 21st, 2017, 3:20 pm

Thank you very much for the photos and descriptions.

While there are a few bits of optimism to be gleaned from these, the overall effect is as heartbreaking as I feared it would be. (Munra Point, Ruckel Ridge... :cry:)

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by retired jerry » September 21st, 2017, 3:23 pm

The picnic shelter had a tree fall on it last winter. Took out a bit of one side of the shelter. Thank goodness they didn't fix it?

It's easily accessible to the road so they could have saved it. And the old bathroom next to the hatchery. Both CCC structures.

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Bosterson
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by Bosterson » September 21st, 2017, 4:18 pm

Charley wrote:
Bosterson wrote:
Image
This is the most astonishing to me. It's not surprising - we're looking down into Eagle Creek, at the birthplace of the fire, where you'd expect it to have ravaged the area pretty considerably. But still, to see such destruction - the whole hillside may actually be barren. The charred slope on the right doesn't have trails, but it's roughly the ridge that leads up to Upper Wauna Falls. It's hard to know if the other ridges suffered the same catastrophic fate, but Eagle Creek has many lovely ridges running from the creek up to Tanner Ridge and the Benson; it would be tragic if those forested ridges all lost their forest, though maybe in a few years they'll be interesting flower ridges with views.
This is Tanner Creek. I was just north of Bradford Island, looking directly South. It's all pretty burned, huh?
Whoops, I'd misread that part of your TR. Tanner Creek means we're looking at all of the east side of Munra. I was planning to do more exploration down there, and had recently repeated my 2013 OT route up Munra from that side, so I'm glad I got to see it one more time since it looks like it's gone. :(
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Marti M
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by Marti M » September 21st, 2017, 4:59 pm

This is so sad. I am glad I took the time to do the Hatfield Wilderness traverse when I did, and for all the hiking I did in the Gorge. Won't be the same again in my lifetime.

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Charley
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by Charley » September 21st, 2017, 7:34 pm

Bosterson wrote:Tanner Creek means we're looking at all of the east side of Munra. I was planning to do more exploration down there, and had recently repeated my 2013 OT route up Munra from that side, so I'm glad I got to see it one more time since it looks like it's gone. :(
Thanks for identifying those several other places. I haven't really done those off trail ridge scrambles in the Gorge, so I'm not as familiar with the ins and outs. Probably won't be safe for a long while. :(

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romann
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by romann » September 21st, 2017, 10:18 pm

Thanks for the pictures! Definitely some bright spots. Nick Eaton Ridge doesn't look too bad; Angels/Devils area looks mostly spared, save for AR itself. Herman Creek and Bell Creek looks promising. Nesmith Point and Benson Plateau will have a lot of open views? Benson especially may become more interesting destination, with west side all open but more than half of the summit reportedly intact (will be sort of Oregon side Table Mountain)? ROA is toast though :( . Wish I also checked Ruckel Ridge before the fire, used to tell myself why hurry it will always be there ;)
Benson.jpg
That post-fire logging plan just gets me mad though (but I am positive it won't happen). Note where it says about cutting areas "affected by fire" - i.e. Devils Rest and Bridal Veil Plateau were just touched by fire but they can be fair game :evil: . Old logging roads are already there. Then by the time they get to logging scorched area, the court will issue injunction, but they weren't after burned trees after all.. Almost looks like they're trying to get it in while the area is still closed, and most people haven't seen how much green is still there.

johnspeth
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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by johnspeth » September 23rd, 2017, 6:38 am

Marti M wrote:This is so sad. I am glad I took the time to do the Hatfield Wilderness traverse when I did, and for all the hiking I did in the Gorge. Won't be the same again in my lifetime.
Nor should it. You're right it won't be the same but a natural forest is always changing due to a variety of natural (and unfortunately unnatural) reasons. While the cause of this fire was unnatural, it otherwise could have been caused by lightning. So embrace the fire as the next phase of this forests' life cycle. Try visiting other sites of calamitous fires (Mt Hood, Santiam Pass, Bull of the Woods) and enjoy the ever changing landscape. Make periodic visits to the Gorge as the forest evolves. You'll be treated to a richer experience with each visit.

Of course, we'll be dealing with trail washouts and downed tree for years. That's the part that really sucks.

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Re: Eagle Creek Fire Damage Photos (9/20/2017)

Post by justpeachy » September 23rd, 2017, 6:39 am

KGW has some aerial footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGxGBWm75Zg

There's a shot of Triple Falls and man, that whole area around the waterfall is totally scorched. :(

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