Many Grand County forest roads still blocked by snow
Sky-Hi Daily News
Not all backcountry roads on U.S. Forest Service land in the Grand County area are open or passable because of the heavy snow that is still on the ground.
Winter and spring storms have left deep snow, slush and increased runoff, which is persisting into the second half of June. Several backcountry roads are still officially closed.
While Corona Pass Road in the Winter Park area is not officially closed, it is not recommended that anyone try driving to the Continental Divide at this time.
One young man from Aurora discovered that to his regret last weekend.
On Saturday, the 23-year-old Aurora man got his Jeep stuck at about 11,200 feet after driving across several miles over drifts and along the snowpacked road while the snow was hard in the early morning. But the snow turned to slush by late morning as temperatures rose and he got stuck.
Sleeping overnight in his Jeep, the Aurora man was still unable to dig his vehicle out by Sunday morning and was forced to use his cell phone to call 911. Grand County Search and Rescue sent in a four-person team on ATVs to rescue the stranded man.
U.S. Forest Service officials with both Arapahoe National Forest on Grand County’s eastern side and Routt National Forest on its western side are asking the public to be patient about the delays in the forest road openings.
“Road conditions change weekly,” said Brad Orr, Recreation Program Manager with the Sulphur Ranger District of Arapahoe National Forest. “The Forest Service will open roads as soon as they are safe for public use.”
Depending upon how quickly the snow melts and washed out areas can be repaired, some of the backcountry roads may not be open until July 4.
“We’re asking people to please not drive on wet, muddy roads,” said Kent Foster, Recreation Program Manager with the Routt National Forest. “It causes damage that taxpayers have to pay to fix.”
The list of roads closed in the Sulphur Ranger District, the location of the closure and the reason why it is closed are:
– FSR #123 (Stillwater Pass), Lost Lake Trailhead to Gilsonite Trailhead, snow on road at summit of pass (both sides)
– FSR #120 (Kawuneeche), above junction with North Supply Road #120.4, road washout makes it impassable
– FSR #133 (Beaver Creek), entire road closed, washout makes it impassable
– FSR #139 (Keyser Creek/Crooked Creek), entire road closed, snow at Church Park and road, washout makes it impassable
– FSR #140 (Keyser Ridge), entire road closed, road washout making it impassable
– FSR #141.1 (Kinney Creek), entire road closed, washout makes it impassable
– FSR #149 (Moffat), closed above trestle, snow
– FSR #129 (Meadow Creek), closed above reservoir, snow
– FSR #112 (Cabin Creek), closed at the divide, snow on both sides
– FSR #164 (Byers Peak), closed at mid-point, snow.
On the western side of Grand County, Routt National Forest officials are reporting the current status of Forest Service roads as follows:
– FSR #60 (Buffalo Pass Road) is still closed at the Dry Lake Gate. Snow begins about 1.5 miles up, and is continuous at 9,000 feet and above. Officials will continue to monitor to see when the road can be opened to the second gate.
– FSR #400 is open to Coyote Park. Forest Service officials say they hope to get hazard trees at Slavonia Trail Head cut this week, anticipate to be open by this weekend.
– FSR #314 (Elk Park Road) is closed.
– FSR #550 ” Forest Service is checking roads this week. The main graveled roads are mostly open, but trails and unsurfaced roads are wet and snow-covered in the trees. Officials say they will know more by the end of this week, but due to the moisture off the main roads, it looks like it may not be open until Saturday, June 28.
For the latest update on Forest Service road conditions, call the Sulphur Ranger District at 887-4100 and Routt National Forest at (970) 870-2187.
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Grand Lake officials will discuss next week a plan to halt new construction in downtown Grand Lake.