A pair of popular Forest Service roads blocked by landslides have reopened to the public.
The 250 Road in Black Canyon along the North Fork of the Clearwater River is now open, and full-sized vehicles have been greenlighted to travel the Fog Mountain Road on the Moose Fork Ranger District.
The road through Black Canyon has been blocked since last winter, and Fog Mountain Road has been closed to full-sized rigs for several years and closed to all-terrain vehicles and others that are 50 or fewer inches wide since 2017.
Fog Mountain Road was opened to ATVs and other narrow vehicles last week, and on Tuesday forest officials announced an inspection of the road showed it can handle larger rigs.
“Staff and I traveled the road recently and confirmed that, at the time of our visit, there were no additional landslides or other concerns that would prevent full-sized vehicles from using Fog Mountain Road,” said Ron Tipton, Moose Creek District Ranger. “The road needs brushing in a few places, but full-sized vehicles can now safely access the Big Fog Saddle camping area and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness trailhead at the end of the road.”
The road is narrow, lacks places to turn around and is not suitable for vehicles pulling trailers. It is expected to be off limits to vehicles more than 50 inches in width from Nov. 15 to June 15.
“This is consistent with travel management rules that were in place prior to the 2017 landslides and subsequent closure orders,” Tipton said.
The road climbs from the Selway River to Big Fog Saddle and Big Fog Trailhead, where trails lead to lakes beneath the Selway Crags.
Repair work, conducted by Debco Construction of Orofino, recently reopened the road.
“Everyone on the Moose Creek Ranger District is extremely grateful for the hard work of our contractors from Debco Construction in Orofino who helped make these road repairs possible,” Tipton said. “We hope our visitors enjoy the increased access opportunities made possible on this route thanks to the hard work of everyone involved with this project.”
Crews from Debco also worked on the Black Canyon slide and began clearing it last week. North Fork District Ranger Andrew Skowlund said the road is open but the contractor does have some addtional work to do there that could lead to a temporary closures. Debco Construction also is repairing a slide on the 255 Road over Deception Saddle between Kelly Creek and Black Canyon. Work on that project will begin Sept. 27 and is likely to lead to a temporary closure of the affected section that could last two or three days. Skowlund said the 250 and 255 roads won’t be closed at the same time, ensuring visitors will be able to detour around any blockage.
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