Fallen trees delay opening of Forest Service roads, trails | SkyHiNews.com

Fallen trees delay opening of Forest Service roads, trails

Because of the combination of dead trees and high winds this spring, more trees than usual are down throughout the Sulphur Ranger District leading to delays in road and trail openings as well as the closure of at least one campground.

Many U.S. Forest Service roads and trails will have trees blocking them for months to come as the Forest Service works to open more than 400 miles of trails and 360 miles of roads for campers, riders and hikers. The most traveled travel routes will be prioritized first, and it may be some time before more remote roads and trails are cleared.

Byers Creek Campground closed

The Forest Service has closed the Byers Creek Campground for the 2010 season to protect public safety due to fallen and hazardous tree. The campground is located in the Fraser Experimental Forest approximately seven miles southwest of Fraser along St. Louis Creek Road. Forest Service managers are currently assessing the area for treatment and clean-up.

The Forest Service urges everyone to watch out for falling trees when traveling through and recreating in the national forest.

“Shallow or rotten tree roots, saturated soils, and wind are a dangerous combination. Everyone needs to be careful,” said Cal Wettstein, commander of the USFS’s Bark Beetle Incident Management Organization. “Checking to see if a campground or road is open should be as important as packing your sleeping bag or your cooler for a camping trip,” he added.

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Safety is everyone’s responsibility. All forest users need to be aware of their surroundings and wind conditions in areas where trees have been killed by the beetles and in areas recently thinned to remove dead trees.

The following are guidelines to help you avoid risks.

Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. They can fall without warning.

If you are in the forest when the winds increase, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.

Place tents and park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if a tree falls.

Park close to a main road; if trees fall across the road you may be trapped.

Bring an ax or chainsaw to remove fallen trees from roads in case you become trapped.

Don’t rely only on cell phones for safety since there is no coverage in many areas of the National Forest.

Remember, your safety is your responsibility.

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