Some Forest Roads Still Open Until Closed by Snow

DATE: 12/5/08


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Chris Strebig (360) 891-5005 or Roger Peterson (360) 891-5007
< /p>

VANCOUVER, WA – With no snow forecast for the Cascades during the coming
week, and little to no snow accumulation on most Forest roads, winter road
closures that are normally established near Sno-Parks and for wildlife
winter range will be delayed until they are closed by snowfall.< /p>

This extension of the open road season will allow better access into these
areas for Christmas tree cutters during this year’s late start to the
winter recreation season.< /p>

Sno-Parks throughout the Forest will begin operating once snow is present
at the Sno-Parks. Roads leading to the Sno-Parks will be maintained during
the winter. Please check the Forest website for current conditions at the
Sno-Parks.< /p>

Forest Service Road 99, to the Windy Ridge Viewpoint on the east side of
Mount St. Helens, remains closed at the Bear Meadows Viewpoint, the road
will close for the winter at the Wakepish Sno-Park as snow accumulates.
Access to the Sno-Park will be maintained throughout the winter from
Randle. Crews have made good progress on repairs to this road during this
fall and this road should reopen early next summer following minor work and
typical spring maintenance.< /p>

On the west side of Mount St. Helens, State Route 504 remains open east of
the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center as far as the Johnston Ridge
Observatory. The Observatory is closed for the winter. Travelers on State
Route 504 should watch out for ice in shaded areas and on bridges as well
as for wildlife. The Washington State Department of Transportation plans to
maintain State Route 504 for winter travel to Coldwater Lake and the
Hummocks Trail as weather conditions and available equipment permit. Winter
visitors need to be aware that road conditions can change quickly due to
blowing snow and that the road will be closed by winter storms. For the
latest information on State Route 504 and other Washington State Highways
visit WSDOT’s web site at: www.wsdot.wa.gov /regions /Southwest /< /a>. Motorists can receive updates by calling 511.< /p>

Forest Service Road 52 (Skate Creek Road), from Packwood to Highway 706, is
still open. Both gates will be closed when snow begins to accumulate on the
road surface.< /p>

When winter snows do arrive many roads on the Gifford Pinchot will be
closed for the winter months. At that time Wildlife winter range closures
and winter sports closures will take effect and restrict vehicular access
to many popular spots on the Forest. These closures are to protect wildlife
during the winter period and to provide for winter sports such as skiing,
snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. All closed areas, are open to the public
with access by foot. Wheeled vehicles are restricted from all-winter sports
travel routes. Snowmobiles are not allowed in wildlife winter range areas.
Once implemented winter wildlife and winter sports closures will be in
effect until April 1, 2009.< /p>

Please make sure you and your vehicle are prepared for winter travel.
Remember to carry emergency equipment and chains. Your safety depends on
good planning and good judgment. For updates on weather and road conditions, contact Forest Service offices and for statewide road information visit
www.wsdot.wa.gov /traffic /< /a>.< /p>

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