Winter forces forest road closures

Staff Writer

With last weekend’s dumping of snow, winter has officially begun in Pagosa Country and, with it, winter driving conditions and restrictions in the forest have taken center stage.

The Pagosa Ranger District and the San Juan Public Lands Center have issued an updated list of road closures.

To protect road surfaces and for public safety, Forest Service and public lands roads are closed to motorized vehicles with the exception of snowmobiles.

However, in Colorado, it is illegal to operate snowmobiles on plowed roads. During this time, though, roads are open to non-motorized uses such as bicycling, hiking and horseback riding. The roads will reopen when it is determined that the road surface will be able to withstand traffic without damage.

Also, an open gate does not give permission to individuals to damage roads. Damage is defined as ruts 1 inch deep or more on gravel roads and 4 inches deep or more on native roads. It is only permissible to go off roads in order to park adjacent to the road on dry ground.

The following roads are closed: Black Mtn 661, Blue Creek 012/Big Branch 664, Burns Canyon 649 to and above second gate, Devil Creek 627 to State Wildlife Area, Devil Mountain 625, East Fork 667, Echo Canyon 029, Eight Mile Mesa 651, Falls Creek Road 039, Fourmile Road 645, Jackson Mountain 037, Kenney Flats 006, Lefthand Canyon 024, Lower Piedra to Campground 621, Monument Park East and West 630, Mosca 631, Nipple Mtn 665, Nipple Mtn 665 (above Echo Canyon), Plumtaw 634, Poison Park 644, Trail Ridge 639, Turkey Creek 647, Turkey Springs 629- Lower/Middle Gate, Turkey Springs 629- Upper Gate, Valle Seco Upper 653 to private property, West Fork 648, Williams Creek 640 from gate to lake, Williams Creek 640 to Palisades HC, Willow Draw 722 (closed to full-sized vehicles), Wolf Creek Road #725.

All campgrounds are closed. These campgrounds are: Blanco River, Bridge, Cimarrona, East Fork, Lower Piedra, Palisades, Teal, Ute, West Fork and Williams Creek.

This story was posted on December 20, 2012.