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Iconic bridge in the Columbia River Gorge reopens after Eagle Creek Fire last fall

Benson Bridge, an iconic bridge located between upper and lower Multnomah Falls, reopened on Thursday, June 28, for the first time since the Eagle Creek Fire.

The remainder of the Larch Mountain Trail, which continues to the upper viewing platform, remains closed due to damage sustained by last year's 48,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire, according to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service.

Damage from the fire increased hazards of rockfall, falling trees and landslides in areas where burned vegetation destabilized the Gorge's rocky slopes.

The Eagle Creek Fire was started by a then 15-year-old boy throwing fireworks into the Eagle Creek Canyon on Sept. 2, 2017. In May, the boy was sentenced to pay $36 million in restitution and serve 1,920 hours of community service.

ODOT's Interstate 84 parking lot at Multnomah Falls fills quickly and closes frequently on busy days. A full parking lot can cause congestion on the highway when drivers wait for parking spots to open.

The upper parking lot at Multnomah Falls off the Historic Columbia River Highway is still closed, and the Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed from Bridal Veil to Ainsworth.

Many road and trails are closed near Multnomah Falls because of ongoing hazards, and all Forest Service system trails south of I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area east of Angel's Rest and west of Cascade Locks remain closed.

To check for closures, visit bit.ly/eaglecreekfireresponse or ReadySetGorge.com.

Several trails have opened in recent weeks, but connecter trails remain closed. Violators that enter closed areas are subject to citations and fines.

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