A combination of wet conditions and illegal off-road travel are damaging roadbeds, as well as soil and vegetation resources, prompting the temporary closure of roads on the Medicine Bow National Forest’s Pole Mountain Unit between Laramie and Cheyenne.
After Forest personnel monitored ground conditions over the past couple of weeks, Laramie District Ranger Frank Romero decided to temporarily close most Forest Service roads within Pole Mountain. The closures, which will be implemented later this week, will not affect access to private lands, Forest Service permit holders, or users of the Tie City and Happy Jack Recreation Areas. Until conditions improve, closures will prohibit wheeled motor vehicles, while still allowing non-motorized access for activities such as hiking, bicycling, hunting, skiing and rock climbing.
According to Romero, the decision to close these roads was not taken lightly and comes as a last resort after years of damage and ongoing attempts at public education. “These closures are not intended to unnecessarily shut off access to the National Forest. They are simply to protect public resources during a fragile time of year,” emphasized Romero.
Conditions will continue being monitored by Forest personnel in the coming weeks and, as ground conditions warrant, closures will periodically be lifted. Romero added, “In terms of the duration, it depends on the time needed for conditions to sufficiently dry out. This may be as little as a couple of weeks to more than a month and I am hopeful for the former.”
Most closures will begin at signed gates located along main entrances from Wyo. Highway 210 (Happy Jack Highway) and Interstate 80.
Public education on protecting roadbeds and natural resources remains a vital component of access and travel management on Pole Mountain. “While we understand this issue affects many, we hope those motorists who are causing damage, whether intentional or not, realize that their actions impact access and enjoyment for the entire public,” said Romero.
For more information about this closure contact the Laramie Ranger District at (307) 745-2300. You can also visit our website at http://fs.usda.gov/mbr, or follow the Medicine Bow National Forest on Twitter, @MBRNFsTBNG.