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Sierra National Forest plans temporary/seasonal closure of hiking and OHV trails in the Ferguson Fire burn area along Merced River

Contact(s): Alex Olow

Sierra National Forest plans temporary/seasonal closure of hiking  and OHV trails in the Ferguson Fire burn area along Merced River

North Fork, Calif., December 19, 2018 – Sierra National Forest Officials announce a temporary trail closure order Forest Order No. 05-15-51-18-15Ferguson Fire Trail Closures on trail numbers 21E07 (Hite’s Cove Trail), 19E05 (Savage Lundy Trail) and 19E200 (Hite’s Cove OHV Trail) on the Bass Lake Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest. These trails are located within the Ferguson Fire burn area (see attached exhibits).

Reasoning behind the closures is for safety concerns with changing weather conditions. The purpose of this Order is to provide public safety due to the risk of landslide and rock fall associated with the moderate to high intensity fire effects from the 2018 Ferguson Fire on the soil and vegetation surrounding these trails.  Within the Ferguson Fire Burned Area Emergency Repair Assessment-Geology Report (dated August 27, 2018), these trails were listed as having a high risk of rock fall onto and near these trails due to the unstable nature of soils due to the lack of vegetation on the surrounding hillsides. 

Monitoring of these trails by Forest Service Staff since the containment of the Ferguson Fire and after subsequent storm passage has documented several sections of these trails where rocks have dislodged from uphill slopes and either crossed and/or impacted the trail itself.  Some sections have had minor landslides cover the trail tread with man-made rock trail walls being impacted.

With the potential of a heavy rainy season, there is an expectation, and heightened risk of flooding, debris flows, on these trails in this past July’s Ferguson Fire burn area. Some flooding, debris, and rock slides have already occurred since the first rains of the 2018/19 season. Out of concern of worsening conditions and for the safety of the public, this temporary closure is necessary.

For more information on alternative recreation sites on the Sierra National Forest please contact any Forest Service Office Bass Lake Ranger District Office at (559) 877-2218, High Sierra Ranger District Office (559-855-3533 ext. 3301, or the Forest Supervisors Office (559) 297-0706. By internet at www.fs.usda.gov/sierra