Corvallis, OR – In anticipation of large numbers
March 20, 2017
Corvallis, OR – In anticipation of large numbers of visitors to the forest to view the total solar eclipse this summer, on March 30 the Siuslaw National Forest will begin accepting reservations for private vehicle access to key viewing areas on Marys Peak and Mt. Hebo.
The high meadows of Marys Peak and Mt. Hebo, both of which fall within the ‘path of totality’ – the swath of land where viewers will witness a total eclipse, are expected to be of great interest to community members and visitors looking for prime viewing locations for the August 21 event. Access to both locations will be managed via a reservation system to provide a unique viewing experience, while ensuring public safety, clear access for emergency vehicles, and protection of sensitive meadows.
Those interested in visiting the forest to view the eclipse are strongly encouraged to plan their visit well in advance. The following information will help with early planning:.
For Marys Peak, private vehicle access the day of the eclipse will be by reservation only. Parking permits will be available for three parking areas around Marys Peak, identified on this map. Access to the small Marys Peak Campground will be limited to Forest Service and emergency services staff and volunteers assisting with the event. The road up Marys Peak will remain open to bicycles, though cyclists should anticipate significant congestion on area roads. More information on vehicle reservations will be available here on March 27, with permit reservations available from that site beginning at 7am on March 30.
Forest officials are also preparing to issue a special use permit to an outdoor event organizer to operate a shuttle to Marys Peak on the day of the eclipse, as well as to provide a range of camping opportunities and enhanced visitor services on the peak. Marys Peak is currently a day-use only area – overnight use of the peak outside of what is available under this permitted event will not be allowed. More information on this shuttle service, camping, and other local opportunities will be available soon at Visit Corvallis.
For Mt. Hebo, private vehicle access the day of the eclipse will also be by reservation only. Parking permits will be available for two parking areas on Mt. Hebo, identified on this map. Access will also be open to those arriving by foot and bicycle, though trailhead access may be unavailable or extremely limited. More information on Mt. Hebo vehicle reservations will be available here on March 27, with permits reservations available from that site at 7am on March 30. The current order prohibiting camping on Mt. Hebo to protect fragile meadows will continue to be in place during the eclipse.
For other forest areas, many Siuslaw National Forest campgrounds are available by reservation and are already booked for the nights leading up to the eclipse. Some areas of the forest are available for dispersed camping, yet the steep slopes and dense forests of the Coast Range limit the availability of suitable camping locations. While access to other forest recreation sites will be available as usual, standard recreation fees may apply and crowding and congestion should be anticipated.
“We love how excited people are to witness this natural phenomenon and it is our intent to welcome them to the national forest to do so,” said Jerry Ingersoll, forest supervisor. “We also know that viewing opportunities on the Siuslaw will be limited by the terrain, the tall trees, and our need to protect safety and resources in a few special places. We’re encouraging folks to plan ahead so they’ll have a memorable eclipse experience.”
With the amount of visitors expected in western Oregon for the eclipse numbering in the hundreds of thousands, it is likely roadways will be congested the weekend prior and the day of the eclipse. Emergency personnel will be stretched thin and response times may be slow. Visitors to the national forest should plan their visit well ahead of time, expect limited or no cellphone service, and have eye protection that is certified as safe for viewing a solar eclipse.
Many events are being planned throughout western Oregon. For information on events and viewing opportunities near you contact your local chambers of commerce or tourism outlets. For more information on viewing the eclipse on the Siuslaw National Forest, contact Lisa Romano, public affairs officer, at 541-750-7075.