Weather claws away at forest roads

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Katka Face Road No. 314 is closed for recreational access because of washouts. (Photo courtesy U.S. FOREST SERVICE)

PRIEST RIVER — Bear Paw Road is closed due to flooding and unsafe travel conditions, the U.S. Forest Service announced on Thursday.

Warmer weather, snowmelt, heavy spring rains are softening and breaking up road surfaces on Bear Paw Road, also known as Forest Service Road No. 305, the agency said.

Another Priest Lake Ranger District route, Gleason McAbee (No. 334), has already been closed because of unsafe travel conditions.

In the Sandpoint Ranger District, Grouse Creek Road (No. 280) Butler Creek (No. 230), Little Blacktail Road (No. 630), Pack River Road (No. 231) and Trout Creek Road (No. 232) have already been closed.

Similar conditions are forcing the closure of a series of forest routes in the Bonners Ferry Ranger District. Those roads include Myrtle Creek Road (No. 233), Trout Creek Road (No. 634), East Dawson Road (No. 2429), Katka Face Road (No. 314), Baldy Road/Dawson Ridge (No. 2538), Twentymile Road (No. 408).

Two other Bonners Ferry Ranger District roads — Smith Creek (Road No. 281) and Tuin Road (No. 2269) — have already been closed because of deteriorating road conditions.

In all cases, residents traveling to their property are exempt from the road closures.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests is compiling a list of road damages across the forest.

Traveling on soft roadbeds can cause additional damage.

“Temporary restrictions are to help protect the road surface and ensure that road drainages work properly. We ask all forest users to please report any major damage they may encounter while out recreating,” said Idaho Panhandle National Forests Supervisor Mary Farnsworth.

To report new road damage, please contact the applicable ranger station. For more information on road conditions and closures, please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ipnf/home.

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