Regional News

Forest Service urges drivers to respect groomed routes; stop road damage

Feb 16, 2018

Forest Service crews are reporting finding road damage from forest recreationists driving on groomed snowmobile routes and around road barricades.                             

Although signs of spring are appearing in lower elevation areas of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, there is still snow in the high country and roads remain closed to motor vehicle use. For those attempting to reach snow play areas in the forest, remember lower elevation roads may be soft, slippery and muddy due to snow melt. Please do not drive on groomed snowmobile routes or on roads that are not officially open to four-wheeled vehicles as a great amount of road damage may occur.

“We are seeing areas where motorists are driving around barricades, over berms, past road closed signs, and over groomed snowmobile routes in order to access higher elevation regions of the forest,” said Forest Engineer Jason Peterson. “This is especially prevalent in the Table Mountain area northeast of Cle Elum. Roads may appear stable on the surface but the subgrade may be in various stages of thaw and vulnerable to lasting damage.”

Forest employees monitor road and trail conditions to ensure they open to public use when they have had a chance to dry out. Winter is not over, there are still great opportunities to enjoy winter recreation activities in the national forest. People are encouraged to recreate responsibly and not drive on groomed snowmobile routes or on muddy or soft forest roads.

“We ask people to please be patient and allow the roads to dry out so no resource damage occurs before they are opened later in the spring,” Peterson said.

vehicle stuck on NF road.jpg

A truck became stuck when the driver attempted to drive on a groomed snowmobile route in the Table Mountain area in February 2018. Credit:  USFS John Simon

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