FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2009 cell (360) 901-2131
CONTACT: Chris Strebig (360) 891-5005, cell (360) 901-2131
VANCOUVER, WA – Forest Road 25 at Benham Creek 5 miles north of the Forest Road 99 junction to Windy Ridge may be closed at any time due to a landslide. A large landslide closed the road last winter, and a temporary bridge was installed in June to provide access on this major north and south Forest access route. Recent heavy rains are dislodging additional material at the Benham Creek site causing Forest officials to consider a complete closure to protect public safety.
As snow levels drop below 3,000 feet in elevation, Forest visitors are cautioned to check ahead on road conditions with local Forest Service offices or the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/gpnf. All Forest visitors should prepare for winter weather driving conditions. Snow plowing on Gifford Pinchot National Forest roads occurs only to Sno-parks through the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission as funding allows. The majority of Forest roads are not plowed for snow, and Forest visitors are cautioned to plan their visit to the Forest based on increasing snow levels and the possibility of getting stranded if they drive Forest roads at higher elevation. Currently, about 2 feet of snow blankets elevations above 4,000 feet.
The Forest has started work with Federal Highways on design and replacement of the bridge over Benham Creek. Completion of the permanent bridge is scheduled for 2011.
For current Forest road information, please contact Gifford Pinchot National Forest offices. The Forest Headquarters in Vancouver can be reached at 360-891-5000; Cowlitz Valley Ranger District in Randle can be reached at 360-497-1100; Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters in Amboy can be reached at 360-449-7800, and; Mount Adams Ranger District in Trout Lake can be reached at 509-395-3400. For more information on current road conditions, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/recreation/currentconditions/roads.shtml or call any of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest offices.