More roads will likely close as runoff damage revealed as snow melts
Massive washouts, dangerous drop-offs, ravines running across roads and more due to the massive runoff this winter and spring have triggered the Inyo National Forest to close some recreation roads in Inyo County; almost all forest recreation roads in Mono County remain closed due to snow or patches of snow, including the Sherwin Creek Road near Mammoth.
“To protect public safety and natural resources, the Inyo National Forest is closing several lower-elevation dirt roads this week due to severe storm damage and prediction of spring snowmelt runoff impacting them further, the Forest Service said this week.
“We know everyone is anxious to get outside and start enjoying their springtime adventures on the Inyo, and we are doing everything we can to make repairs and re-open roads as conditions allow,” said Acting District Ranger Scott Kusumoto. “Additionally, if you come upon any other road washout, erosion, or other damage, play it safe and turn around instead of potentially endangering yourself and damaging sensitive resources.”
The order for these road closures will be terminated as soon as road conditions allow for safe travel, either when snow melt is complete or when damaged sections are repaired, he said.
Inyo National Forest staff have been working with other local organizations to determine the extent of damage, or if other obstacles such as severe erosion cuts, rockslides, tree blowdown, etc. has impacted forest roads and infrastructure, he said.
Unknown obstacles currently hidden under snow will continue to be evaluated as the spring and summer seasons progress. There is a high possibility that additional roads will be closed in the future as more damage is revealed, including in Mono County when the snow melts.
Here is a list of the road that are closed in Inyo County:
• Forest Road 6S02 (Silver Canyon Road, closed at Forest boundary)
• Forest Road 6S01 (Wyman Canyon Road, closed at Forest boundary)
• Forest Road 7S10 (Coyote Flat/Valley Road from Bishop, closed just past kiosk)
• Forest Road 9S19 (Sugarloaf Road, closed at Baker Creek)
Maps for these roads are available on the Inyo National Forest’s Motor Vehicle Use Maps and separate detailed and specific maps are available on the website under “Alerts and Notices,” the agency said. Go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/inyo for more information.
Forest officials want to remind the public of the following:
• Going around closed roads, boulders, blockades, or driving over carbonite posts or through ruts creates further resource damage and also endangers the traveler and others. Not to mention, this creates a further backlog of repair work for our staff, which could cause the road closures to last longer.
• Region-wide, the road damage repair is so extensive that repairs may not be done in a timely enough manner before reopening. Therefore, if a road appears to be fine to drive but it is officially closed, it is imperative that you stay off it.
• Travelling over snow-covered roadways results in water flowing down ruts created by the vehicles, causing road damage and erosion.
• Violation of entering closed roads is punishable by a fine of $5,000 or less for an individual, $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for six months or both.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE
Other land management agency roads that lead into Forest Service roads may also be closed. For more information, go to:
• Inyo County: ready.inyocounty.us/pages/2023-storm-response
• Los Angeles Department of Water and Power: ladwpeasternsierra.com
• BLM - Bishop Field Office: www.blm.gov/office/bishop-field-office
• CalTrans: quickmap.dot.ca.gov