Sep. 18—The lower Rogue River Trail, the 40-mile path that goes through the river canyon from Grave Creek to Agness, has been reopened by the Bureau of Land Management.
The Rainie Falls Trail, on the opposite (south) bank of the river, remains closed and is unlikely to reopen this year due to damage from the Rum Creek Fire.
The fire burned down to the water in places along the Rainie Falls Trail. The fire did not jump the river to the north side (river right when you're heading downstream) in the canyon.
Almeda County Park has also reopened, BLM said. Rocky Bar, Robert Dean, Chair and Rand recreation sites remain closed.
Neither the Grave Creek boat ramp nor the trailhead for the Rogue River National Recreation Trail are accessible from Galice Road.
Road blocks in the fire area are located at Galice Road north of Almeda; Peavine East Road at Bear Camp Road; Peavine West Road at Upper Bear Camp Road; Quartz Creek Road about 3 miles up (end of county maintenance); Hog Creek Road at Galice Road; and Galice Road at the bridge by Grave Creek boat ramp.
To reach the trailhead coming from Medford or Grants Pass, hikers will have to go through either Sunny Valley or Wolf Creek to reach Lower Grave Creek Road, said BLM spokesman Kyle Sullivan.
From Sunny Valley, take Leland Road to Lower Grave Creek Road, or go to Wolf Creek and take Lower Wolf Creek Road, which turns into Lower Grave Creek Road. Both routes include narrow, winding roads, so drivers should be aware of fire traffic, falling debris and other hazards from the fire, Sullivan said.
The Wild section of the Rogue River below Grave Creek is open. The Smullin Visitor Center in Rand is open for permits, and new Wild Section permits will be issued starting Monday, BLM said. The recreation section of the Rogue River is open to boating down to Almeda County Park. The Rand boat ramp is closed. It is recommended that day users take out at Almeda.
Last week BLM and Josephine County reopened some other recreation sites along the Rogue River, including Hog Creek County Park and Boat Ramp, Indian Mary Park and Campground and Ennis Riffle County Park.
Before venturing out to reopened public lands near the Rum Creek Fire, be aware that fire traffic may still be seen in the area, BLM advised.
Ash and dust from the fire may contain toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. Watch out for fire-weakened trees and limbs that can fall without warning. Leave the area immediately if wind picks up. In wet weather, water or mud may cause landslides or flooding. Stump holes can remain hot long after the fire is out, and footing can be unstable if roots have burned underground. Hot spots still exist within the fire perimeter.
As of Sunday, the Rum Creek Fire was listed at 21,347 acres with 83% containment.
Call 541-471-6535 during business hours for more information.
Reach Mail Tribune Editor-in-Chief David Smigelski at 541-776-4484 or email@example.com.