Vandals hit campground, reward offered for information

ROSEBURG, Ore. - A $1,500 reward is being offered, after the South Umpqua Falls Campground was hit by vandalism.

The reward is being offered by the Umpqua National Forest and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, in hopes that it will lead to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the vandalism.

Officials say the worst of it was allegedly done by someone in a vehicle. "It appears a full-size truck came in and tore up the meadows in the campground, which are still wet this time of year. It is an unfortunate mess right now," said Donna Owens, District Ranger. "We have decided to close the campground temporarily, in hopes the area will heal. Meadows are fragile and we must do some restoration before we reopen the site."

The damage comes at a critical time for the Umpqua National Forest.

Faced with tighter budgets and fewer employees, the forest must carefully implement a plan to restore the campground while minimally inconveniencing visitors. "The South Umpqua Falls Campground is one of our most popular recreation sites. Families from Douglas County and beyond come spend time here," said Dave Erwin, Recreation Manager on the Tiller District. He added, "We have to be very careful about how we spend our recreation money. Because our limited funds will be spent repairing the vandalism, plans to refurbish picnic tables at the campground will be scrapped."

Recreation staff on the forest say they will work diligently to have the campground operational before the Summer season. Owens said, "It's a shame the campground will be closed on these beautiful spring days we've been having. We plan to open the site by Memorial Day weekend."

The South Umpqua Falls Campground is closed until further notice. In the meantime, visitors to the Umpqua National Forest can plan visits to the Three C Rock, Ash Flat and Skillet Creek campgrounds.

For more information about alternative recreational areas, contact the Tiller Ranger District at (541) 825-3100.

Any tips with information about the person or persons who are responsible can be reported to Forest Service Law Enforcement Office at (541) 496-4187. All tips will remain confidential.