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Colorado: Over-eager motorists damaging forest areas

Forest Service asking visitors to respect closures and wait for the snow to melt

The U.S. Forest Service is urging motorists to exercise restraint to protect natural resources on the forest as snow season lingers in the Colorado high country. BOB BERWYN/FILE PHOTO.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Over-eager motorists in Colorado are causing extensive damaged to roadside vegetation by driving around snowdrifts in the high country, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

“We know that people are anxious to get out and enjoy their National Forest over the July 4th weekend. This is an unusual summer.  The snow is usually gone and the roads dried out at this point,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. “We urge everyone to respect our road closures and to remain on road surfaces rather than driving off road to get around gates and snow drifts.”

In a press release, the Forest Service said it has received reports of cut locks and damage to gates by people trying to gain access to areas for the forest that remain closed because of road and snow conditions.

The Forest Service is working to open as many roads and campgrounds as possible. But persistent snow and muddy road conditions are keeping several popular roads and recreation facilities on the southern Flattops closed. Even on those roads that have been opened, wet and muddy conditions will be encountered. Drivers are urged to drive with caution and to respect all posted closures.  Driving around gates and snowdrifts results in damage to forest resources and can cause expensive damage to vehicles.

“The Coffee Pot Road (FSR 600) is closed at Crane Park prohibiting access to the Deep Lake, Kline’s Folly and Supply Basin campgrounds. Access to the Coffee Pot Campground requires a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle as a result of a large mud hole at the entrance to the campground,” said Paula Peterson, a recreation ranger on the Eagle/ Holy Cross Ranger District reports,

“The Buford-New Castle Road has been plowed by Rio Blanco County and is open to vehicle travel. The Meadow Lake Campground road has also been plowed and the campground will be open for the July 4th weekend. Many of the side roads remain closed due to snow,” said Kyle Grambly, a ranger on the Rifle Ranger District.

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2 Responses

  1. Cut locks and damage to gates? I have to admit to total bewilderment over the mindset of motorists who would do that.

  2. no brain…no headache.

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