Observer staff


The Tollgate Fuels Reduction Project Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision are available on the forest’s website at: .

PENDLETON — The Umatilla National Forest will host a public meeting regarding the Tollgate Fuels Reduction Project to update local residents on the status of ongoing implementation activities. The meeting is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Trail Finder’s Club House on State Highway 204 at Tollgate. Mike Rassbach, the Walla Walla District Ranger, and district employees will be at the meeting to share information about the status of the Tollgate Fuels Reduction Project, progress of fuels treatment accomplishments and activities planned for 2018.

“The Tollgate area is one of the most utilized recreation areas on the forest. We know there is a lot of interest in the success of implementing this project, and we hope Tollgate residents, as well as the weekend recreational land and cabin owners, will join us,” Rassbach said.

A representative from the Oregon Department of Forestry will also be available to discuss how the Tollgate Project ties into private land treatment opportunities and information about the State’s Cohesive Wildfire Strategy to strengthen the defensibility of our communities surrounded by public land from wildfire.

In 2005, Umatilla County's Community Wildfire Protection Plan identified the Upper 204/Tollgate Wildland-Urban Interface area as a priority for fuels reduction to lessen the impact of wildfire on lives, property, and the landscape. The Walla Walla Ranger District initiated the project in 2010 and worked collaboratively with the public to develop the project through a series of public meetings in the Tollgate area, which helped inform the assessment process and identify fuels reduction treatments. The Record of Decision for the Tollgate Project was signed by the Umatilla National Forest Supervisor in June 2014.

The ROD authorizes about 4,300 acres for treatment through a variety of activities such as thinning, removal of heavy fuel accumulations and the piling and burning of tree tops and limbs. One of the four treatment areas has been completed and implementation is currently taking place on a second site.