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Seasonal Road Closures Extended for Forest Service Roads

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Seasonal Road Closures Extended for Forest Service Roads

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March 28, 2012

(Okanogan, WA) In a typical year, many of the winter closures on US Forest Service roads in Okanogan County are lifted at the beginning of April. With snowfall continuing at higher elevations, some closures will need to remain in place for a while longer.

Each year the Methow Valley and Tonasket Ranger Districts implement winter road closures to maintain deer winter range and snowmobile routes. Those closures typically expire March 31.

“Many roads remain snow-covered,” said Jennifer Zbyszewski, Recreation Staff Officer on the Methow Valley Ranger District. “Other roads are too soft to open to access.  We’re anticipating a delay of two weeks or so.”

Opening roads to wheeled vehicle travel too early can result in substantial road damage. With spring thawing and high moisture content, vehicles can sink into the roadbed.

“While most of the roads will likely be free of snow and firmed up by mid-April,” said Matt Marsh, Wildlife Biologist for the Tonasket Ranger District, “closures on two of the roads will extend longer.”

Due to extremely wet conditions, the Barnell Meadows road, FS 3000-100, will remain closed until June 15th. And the gate at Kerr Snow Park on the North Fork Salmon Creek road, FS 3800, will stay closed until May 1st.  After last year’s washout on that road, there is an increased risk of debris causing hazards for motorists.  This May 1st date may be extended if run off and debris create a need for additional cleaning.

US Forest Service personnel will continue to monitor snow levels and road conditions. They will open roads and remove barricades as soon as conditions permit.

Information about Forest Service Road conditions is available online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/okawen/conditions and by calling Methow Valley Ranger District 509-996-4000 or Tonasket Ranger District at 509-486-2186.

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