All Oregonians will remember the tragic wildfire that ran through the Columbia River Gorge, destroying many of the state’s most beautiful hikes and views. The fire burned a total of 48,000 acres of land.

Ever so slowly, several trails are opening up to the public once again, specifically Starvation Ridge, Mount Defiance, and Warren Lake. Favorite spots that include Oneonta Gorge, Angel’s Rest, and Larch Mountain are still closed to the public.

In February, the teen who started the fire by throwing fireworks into brush pleaded guilty, and he was just charged by the Hood River County Circuit Court with paying around $36.6 million in restitution for the damage caused by the fire. The Hood River Juvenile Department will help him to establish a payment schedule. The judge stated in a memorandum on the case that “In short, I’m satisfied that the restitution ordered in this case bears a sufficient relationship to the gravity of the offenses for which the youth was adjudicated.”

Helen Cook is a current honors student at Benedictine College, where she is studying History with a minor in Theology. She is heavily active in student life, participating in three music ensembles as a violinist and leading Ravens Respect Life as president. When she is not busy with school and student life activities, she is found reading the many classical works of literature.