US Forest Service gates to open April 15
Roads to open on April 15 on the forest
Forest Ranger Darren Olsen along with Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk visited the forest to take a look at the forest roads beyond the gates. Olsen said, "We want people to know, there's still a lot of snow on the forest roads. According to our regulations, the gates will open on April 15. We need people to understand that just because the gates are open, doesn't mean the roads are passable. Just because you see tire tracks doesn't mean it's a legal route. We really want people to consult the motor vehicle use map for the Manti-LaSal National Forest which includes Ferron, Price and Sanpete ranger districts. Routes are marked on the map. If a route isn't marked then use caution. Signs are used to mark open routes. Gates have been used to protect the roads and to protect winter range for wildlife. We are concerned that there is still snow on the road and rutting could occur. We would ask people to respect the roads because they are saturated. This time of year, the gravel can be pushed down into the road and cause damage. If damage occurs we could issue an emergency closure order and wait until the roads dry out. We don't want to do this. We are trying to work with the public in opening these roads. We want to give the people access to the forest as soon as possible.
Sheriff Funk said, "We would like to see the public police themselves. The forest is extremely wet. Utilize an ATV, that causes less damage than a full-size pick-up. The forest service is really bending over backwards to keep these roads open. Offenders should be reported. The majority of the people will stay on the roads and trails, but one person can ruin it for the rest of the people. Right now people are wanting to access the forest for bear hunting, antler hunting, fishing and to see wildlife, we don't discourage these activities, but ask people to act responsibly."
Olsen said some routes in lower Ferron Canyon, the Scenic By-way over Huntington Canyon and all lower elevations routes should be fine and ready for recreation. He said sometimes the weather is great down in the valley and people look up at the mountains and only see a little snow in higher elevations and think the mountain's ready. But there can still be a lot of snow and drifts at the higher elevations. If a route is still wet, people can hike, ride horses or mountain bikes can be used. If you encounter a muddy spot, turn around, don't drive around it. If the roads are abused, they could be closed until they are dry. Olsen said, "We have motorized trails and routes of more than 1,000 miles. It's too much to maintain every year. The roads are on a rotation maintenance schedule. If a road is damaged it may not be repaired this year. It could be rutted for a long time. Our maintenance schedule is also based on funding. The county takes care of the main routes into the forest. The county has been really good to work with. Roads that are really muddy at this time include Horn Mountain, Ferron Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon."
A number of gates on Forest Service roads are scheduled to be opened April 15. In some cases, they are the first gates in a series of gates along Forest Service Roads. Olsen said, "Churning deep tracks through the mud causes severe damage to roads that doesn't go away when they dry out. Later erosion often makes the damage worse and contributes sediment to the watershed. Patience and waiting for drier weather pays off."
The following roads on the Ferron Price District will open at the first gate:
Ferron Canyon #50022: Gate opened on dugway below Ferron Canyon Overlook
Horn Mountain #50019: Gate opened at junction with #50170 (South Joes Valley)
Link Canyon #50044: Gate opened at the forest boundary. Seasonal closures for OHV trails such as the Hole, Black Dragon, Lord's and Rock Canyon trails, and motorcycle trails such as Dry Wash, Middle, and Rim trails will also be lifted April 15.
Those wishing to travel near the area should obtain a Motor Vehicle Use Map from either the Forest Supervisor's Office in Price or the Ferron/Price District Office in Ferron. The map can also be obtained from the forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/mantilasal/maps-pubs
For further information or to receive updates on these closures contact the Ferron/Price Ranger District in Ferron at (435)-384-2372 or the Forest Supervisor's office in Price at (435)-637-2817.