Many U.S. Forest Service roads, such as the road over Buffalo Pass, still are too wet to open.

Photo by John F. Russell

Many U.S. Forest Service roads, such as the road over Buffalo Pass, still are too wet to open.

Many US Forest Service roads still drying out in Routt County

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— Summer-like weather may be arriving early in Routt County, but many U.S. Forest Service roads remain closed because of wet conditions and snow.

Kent Foster, recreation manager for the U.S. Forest Service’s Hahn’s Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, inspected roads Friday and said the only gate he opened is used to access the east side entrance to Hahn’s Peak Lake north of Steamboat Lake.

“Everything else is still too wet,” Foster said.

Snowdrifts remain on Forest Service Road 550, which is used to access Big Red Park in North Routt County. Foster said Seedhouse Road got a lot of rain and is too wet to open.

“It would just tear up the road,” Foster said. “Hopefully by the end of next week, it will be different because I know we are getting into a drying trend.”

Roads at higher elevations, including the road over Buffalo Pass, still are a ways from opening. In a typical year, access to the Continental Divide north of Steamboat via the Buffalo Pass road is not possible until about July 4. Last year, the road did not open until August.

“Motor vehicle users should resist the temptation to travel off roads and trails or through wet areas,” Forest Service officials wrote in a news release. “This causes rutting and other damage to these routes and ultimately harms natural resources, including water quality as well as fish and wildlife habitat.”

Even if roads are passable, some are kept closed through spring to minimize impacts to elk calving areas.

People are encouraged to call or visit their local Forest Service office with questions about road conditions and closures. The Forest Service also asks people to report water flowing across a road or a washed-out section.

The Yampa Ranger District can be reached by calling 970-638-4160. The Hahn’s Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District in Steamboat Springs can be reached by calling 970-870-2299. Road conditions also are available at www.fs.usda.gov/mbr.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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