Forest Service lifts Basalt Mountain area closure; roads remain closed for emergency maintenance

Release Date: Oct 12, 2018  

OCTOBER 11, 2018

Forest Service lifts Basalt Mountain area closure; roads remain closed for emergency maintenance

National Forest System Lands in the Basalt Mountain area have been closed since early July in response to the Lake Christine Fire.

BASALT, Colo. – Effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, the Forest Service will lift the Lake Christine Fire area closure around Basalt Mountain. Forest Service Road #509, the Cattle Creek Road, and Forest Service Road #524, the Basalt Mountain Road, will remain closed to motor vehicles. However, both the Cattle Creek Road and Basalt Mountain Road will be open to foot, horse, and mechanized (mountain bike) use.

“We are glad that we are able to open the area back up ahead of hunting season,” said Kevin Warner, acting District Ranger. “We are asking the public to exercise extreme caution as hazards such as weakened dead and downed trees, loose rock, and ash pits are prevalent in burned areas.”

Fire-created hazards have not been mitigated in and around the burned area. Extreme caution is recommended to anyone traveling in the area. Road closures to motorized vehicles are in place for public safety while heavy machinery and a road crew implements emergency road maintenance before the winter closures take effect and ahead of the 2019 spring runoff.

This emergency road work is part of the ongoing Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) mitigation efforts and will help to decrease the probability and/or intensity of negative post-fire effects such as erosion. Anyone choosing to travel by foot, horse, or bike on the roads should travel with caution and be aware of the possibility of heavy equipment and damage on the roads. Foot, horse, and bike users may experience delays when traveling on the roads.

Trails in the area will not be closed, however the Forest Service strongly recommends that the public avoid hiking, biking or riding horses on trails within the fire area due to persistent and extreme dead and downed tree conditions.

“During a recent trail evaluation, crews encountered over 60 downed trees across a one mile section of the Mill Creek Trail, and hundreds of downed trees across a three mile section of the Cattle Creek Trail,” said Kevin Warner, acting District Ranger. “With recent storms, that number has likely increased. We are planning on addressing the trails early next spring with a dedicated crew, but I urge hikers, bikers and equestrian users to look for other recreation options until next season.”

Hunters and others entering recently burned areas should exercise caution and understand that fire can create forest hazards. Fire-weakened trees may fall suddenly, and roots of trees can burn underground creating ash pits that may not be readily visible. Burned forests are especially hazardous in windy conditions.

For more information visit the White River National Forest Alerts and Notices page or call the Aspen-Sopris Ranger Station at 970-963-2266.