Wet March Pushes Back Opening of Eldorado National Forest Road Access
PLACERVILLE, CA—Based on recent precipitation, the annual closure of native surface roads, also known as dirt roads, in the Eldorado National Forest has been extended to April 9, 2016. Rainfall, soil moisture, road and trail conditions, and weather forecasts are factors that trigger extending the seasonal closure beyond March 31.
“My goal is to open these roads to the public as soon as possible,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. “However, there has been a lot of precipitation in the last few weeks. We are back to a pre-drought normal overall, but more of that precipitation than usual occurred in the month of March instead of over several months. Some of it is in the form of snow which will be melting now that it is getting warmer, so even if rain is not in the forecast, some roads could still be damaged.”
The seasonal closure is designed to protect roadbeds and watersheds from damage and to protect water quality. A minimum three month closure period from January 1 through March 31 was designated for the core part of the wet season in the Eldorado National Forest Travel Management Plan. This plan also allows the seasonal dirt road closure to start earlier or be extended based on actual conditions in a given year.
Roads subject to seasonal closure are identified on a map that is available free-of-charge at all Eldorado National Forest offices and on the web at:www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. The seasonal closure does not affect routes in the Rock Creek Area near Georgetown, which has its own route closure process.
When the roads open, there will still be wet areas at higher elevations for some time. Many routes change in elevation over several miles. Visitors are encouraged to be aware of changes in the conditions of the roads they are using, and to adjust travel plans when they reach a wet section as they will be responsible for any resource damage caused by inappropriate use.
The Rock Creek Recreational Trail System in the Georgetown District is evaluated separate from the other native surface roads in the forest. Due to wet conditions, these trails will be closed to vehicle and equestrian use until June 30 under the Rock Creek Wet Weather Trail Closure, Forest Order No. 03-16-203. [**UPDATE: Forest Order No. 03-16-203 has been terminated effective 03/25/2016.**]