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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Washout, road work and snow impede access to popular recreation area

By Eric Barker The Lewiston Tribune

LEWISTON – Getting to the North Fork of the Clearwater River could become more difficult in the coming weeks.

At the moment, the only way into the popular camping and fishing area is via Beaver Creek Road from Headquarters. Hoodoo Pass and French Mountain Saddle both remain blocked by snow.

If French Mountain were to open today, visitors using that route would be stopped short of the North Fork. Last week, Orogrande Creek washed out a short section of the 250 Road about 8 miles upstream of Bungalow and the confluence of the river and creek.

Starting next week, construction on Beaver Creek Road, also known as the 247 Road, is scheduled to begin. Crews are replacing 25 culverts between Camp 14 and Sousie Creek. The road is jointly managed by PotlatchDeltic and the U.S. Forest Service, and the company is directing the road work.

Those using the route this month will be subject to weekday delays between 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During some of the work, delays could last up to four hours.

Andrew Skowlund, ranger of the North Fork District, said the agency will try to maintain access.

“We’re working with Potlatch to reduce the impacts to the public as much as we can,” he said. “During the middle of the day, during working hours during the work week, they need to expect lengthy delays up to four hours.”

He said the agency is blading the 250 and 247 roads this week while also staging equipment to repair the 250 Road. Securing the equipment and getting it in place will take some time, but the repairs are likely to only take two to three days. Skowlund believes the road will be repaired within two weeks.

While the culvert work on the 247 Road is inconvenient, Skowlund said it’s needed and his agency worked with PotlatchDeltic to time the work between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July weekend.

Jake King, road construction supervisor for PotlatchDeltic, said the work could extend into July depending on weather. If that happens, the work will pause and the road will be open June 30 through 7 a.m. July 5.