Winter weather hits forest roads hard

The recent gullywashers and gales that have struck the region have been hard on the thousands of miles of roads in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

"We have a number of small slides, downed trees and plugged culverts on all of our districts right now," said forest spokesman Paul Galloway. "We have crews out now clearing them as they find them."

Travel into some areas of the forest may be delayed because of the road restoration work, he cautioned.

While the entire forest has been affected, the Gold Beach Ranger District has been hit the hardest, he said.

Portions of Chetco River Road, Hunter Creek Road and Mt. Emily Road in that district are impassable and have been barricaded because of storm damage, officials said. It is unknown when those roads will reopen.

"We are encouraging the public to report any road problems they encounter while out cutting Christmas trees or doing other things in the forest," he added.

But he cautioned forest visitors to drive cautiously as they negotiate the mountain roads. They should also let someone know where they are headed and when they expect to return, he said.

"With these big rain events like this, drivers need to be prepared to encounter washouts, erosion problems and mud," he said.

When venturing out, forest visitors should have warm clothing, blankets or sleeping bags, food, water, flashlight, shovel and chains, officials said. They should also begin their journey with a full tank of gas, they add.

"With the snow line coming down, things can get treacherous real fast," Galloway said.

— Paul Fattig

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