Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Forest Service: Please obey road closures

Low-snow year allows access to closed terrain

Express Staff Writer

While construction of a new base lodge at Soldier Mountain continues, the lifts have yet to run this winter and Sawtooth National Forest officials are reminding the public that the ski area near Fairfield remains closed to snowmobile use and motorized travel.

Forest officials are also asking the public to observe seasonal road and trail winter travel restrictions that run from Dec. 1 through April 30.

"Roads and trails that naturally close with snow are being used by wheeled vehicles due to the light snow year," Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson stated in a news release last week. "We ask that folks stay out of winter travel areas with motorized vehicles. Many roads and trails are part of the winter snow grooming system and are being groomed for snow machines and Nordic skiing, and wheeled-vehicle use can ruin trails for winter recreationists."

Nelson said non-snow-specific vehicles can create ruts in the snow that channel water, especially during cycles when the snow is melting and freezing, causing additional maintenance problems in the spring.

Fines will be issued to anyone violating the road closures, he said.

To protect wintering elk, an annual winter wildlife closure is in effect along the South Fork of the Boise River east of Featherville and along Little Smoky Creek to Couch Summit and Red Rock Creek.

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