Recent heavy rains are triggering more problems with Forest Service roads in North Idaho.
A slide closed the West Bluff Creek Road near Avery. Other roads are muddy because of the spring thaw and recent precipitation.
“We would prefer that people don’t use them,” said Carl Gidlund, spokesman for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. If people have to use them, they should check road conditions with the nearest ranger district before traveling, he said.
Clearwater National Forest officials are similarly concerned about people using heavily damaged forest byways to the south.
“Roads are rough,” Forest Supervisor Jim Caswell said. “In some places, there’s only enough room to squeak through. In other places, the road surface has dropped, so you’re driving in and out of holes.”
Spring snow and heavy rains are continuing to cause rock and mudslides.
“We had our engineers rushing out this morning” to assess the damage, said Deanna Riebe, of the Clearwater National Forest.
November and February rains did extensive damage to roads in the Clearwater and Panhandle forests. Dozens of roads have been closed and it could be more than a year before some are reopened.
“Practically nothing has reopened yet,” Riebe said. A few roads may never reopen.
Federal Highway Administration money likely will be used to fix some of the logging roads. Total damage is expected to run in the millions of dollars.
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