Rain Brings Safety Concerns in High Park Fire Area; Closures Remain

Release Date: Jul 9, 2012  

Contact(s): Reghan Cloudman

Fort Collins, Colo. (July 9, 2012) – A closure order remains in effect on a portion of the Roosevelt National Forest west of Fort Collins due to conditions created by the High Park Fire. Due to recent rains, additional safety concerns exist.

Rock and mud slides have closed portions of Highway 14 three times since Friday. This could continue as long as rain is in the forecast. Rain is causing water to run in sometimes unexpected places. There is ash and debris in the river. Falling trees are also a safety concern – with recent weather causing both live and dead trees to fall. Remember, your safety is your responsibility.

The current closure prohibits all activities within an area of the Canyon Lakes Ranger District bounded by County Road 44H on the south, the High Park Fire northern perimeter on the north, the forest boundary on the east, and 300ft west of Pingree Park Road on the west.

This closure restricts dispersed recreation on the lands identified, including rock climbing and hiking. The closure includes some campgrounds, trailheads, trails, and Forest Service Roads. Trails are expected to be closed until rehabilitation work can be completed. Those still closed include:

Mountain Park Campground (8 sites)

Young Gulch Trail

Diamond Rock Picnic Area

Bennett Creek Picnic Sites

Lower Narrows Campground

Upper Ansel Watrous Campground

Hewlett Gulch Trail

Mount McConnel/Kruetzer Trails

Greyrock/Greyrock Meadows Trails

Old Flowers Road

Monument Gulch Road

West White Pine Road

Many developed areas have reopened, depending on Highway 14 status. River access, including launch sites, for fishing, rafting, and kayaking is open. If using the river, scout the area out for potential hazards (including rocks and debris) and expect that river conditions have changed due to the fire and recent rains. Road closures are also causing disruption to rafting companies’ launch schedules.

Visitors and residents can check the web at http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/arp/recreationfor the latest information or call the visitor information center at 970-295-6700. Summer hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closure details can be found on the web at www.fs.usda.gov/arp.

Visitors are reminded that even with all the rain Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in place, banning open flames and target shooting.

Rock and mud slides, along with falling trees, caused the loss of one recreation residence and potential damage to a number of others. These are residences that are privately owned but are permitted to be on National Forest System lands. The Forest Service is currently assessing the damage and informing the owners.