Forest Service issuing citations to visitors going into closed a - KPTV - FOX 12

Forest Service issuing citations to visitors going into closed areas in the Gorge, aircrafts now prohibited

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In the wake of the Eagle Creek Fire, there are now fewer options in the Gorge to hike. Yet, the U.S Forest Service said they have issued a number of citations to people who are going past barricades and putting themselves and others in danger.

The Forest Service issued an order this week prohibiting landing of aircraft including drones at the Multnomah Falls Area, Wahkeena Falls Day Use Area, Horsetail Falls Trailhead and Eagle Creek Recreation Area.

Officials told FOX 12 this is largely in part due to people flying drones in Eagle Creek fire affected areas and then landing them past barricades.  

Not only are aircrafts the problem, but also the number of people going past barricades remains an issue, according to the Forest Service.

“There are fences in place and people actually still jump and climb over the fences and go back into the closed areas,” Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Rachel Pawlitz said.

Since the closures of many trails and the Columbia River Historic Highway in late September and early October, Pawlitz said the department’s issued 65 citations and more than 1000 verbal warnings.

The fine for a citation from the Forest Service is $280.

One main problem is Multnomah Falls.

Pawlitz said some trailheads may not be as heavily marked but they’ll still have postings warning folks that it’s not safe.

“It’s really clearly marked that the trail’s closed so just because there’s not a fence keeping you out doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go back there,” Pawlitz said.

But for some hikers like Shyloh Aslinger who traveled across country, planning to hike the Pacific Northwest, the closures are dampering plans.

“I didn't even know about any of the burnt stuff until recently,” Aslinger said. “It just sucks that a lot of them got closed off though.”

As for breaking the rules to get closer to the beauty in the Gorge some visiting Multnomah Falls said they’re fine with seeing it from a distance.

“These people have, including myself, really understand these trails and the trail systems and one of the reasons I think it would create an inclination to go there but it is so dangerous to cross those barriers because all the roots have been burnt by the fire so not only in danger of being in part of landslides but rocks falling and trees falling as well,” Robert Denning said.

For a full list of trailhead and road closures you can check out readysetgorge.com.

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