(LARAMIE, Wyo.) February 17, 2016 – Due to melting snow and recent wet conditions, all roads have been temporarily closed on the Pole Mountain unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest between Laramie and Cheyenne.
Until conditions improve, the closures will prohibit wheeled motor vehicles, while still allowing non-motorized access for activities such as hiking, bicycling, hunting, skiing and rock climbing.
The temporary closures will begin at signed gates located along main entrances from Highway 210 and Interstate 80. Implementation of the closures took place today, and will not affect access to private lands, Forest Service permit holders, or users of the Tie City and Happy Jack Recreation Areas.
It is the third consecutive year that the Laramie Ranger District has had to put closures in place. The decision to close these roads is not taken lightly and comes as a last resort after years of damage and ongoing attempts at public education. Combinations of wet conditions and illegal off-road travel have damaged roadbeds, as well as soil and vegetation resources, prompting the temporary closure of roads.
“The recent warm, windy weather has begun to melt the snowpack on Pole Mountain and people are beginning to try and drive on wet roads or around snow drifts,” said Laramie District Ranger Frank Romero. “So once again, we have made the decision to protect public resources during a fragile time of year. I want to stress that these closures are not intended to unnecessarily shut off access to the National Forest.
“As part of the ongoing Pole Mountain Travel Management Project, we are searching for the best way to deal with these issues in the long term. We have put forth a proposed action with set annual dates for temporary closures and the hope is for continued public input as we move through this process.”
Moving forward, road conditions will be evaluated by Forest personnel on a consistent basis and, as ground conditions warrant, closures will periodically be lifted.
Public education on protecting roadbeds and natural resources remains a vital component of access and travel management on Pole Mountain.
Forest Service officials would like to stress that even when roads begin to dry and reopen; users must stay on designated routes and may not travel off-road. Help protect public lands so that they may be enjoyed by the entire public.
Those traveling through the National Forest should pay attention to signage and refer to the Pole Mountain Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for details. MVUMs are free and physical copies can be obtained at the Laramie District Office, 2468 Jackson St. in Laramie. Electronic versions of the free map are available online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbr/mvum/maps.
It is the user’s responsibility to know where they are and what types of restrictions there may be when accessing public lands.
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, @FS_MBRTB.