Although the calendar says spring, much of the Coconino National Forest looks like winter. Most of the roads on the Coconino National Forest — those above the Mogollon Rim —are still snowy and muddy and remain closed.
Forest roads are closed during snowy weather because they are not designed and maintained for all-weather traffic. As the weather warms, forest managers are evaluating road conditions on a daily basis. “In many cases, a road may look dry and solid just behind the gate, but in spots further down, there are still snowdrifts and mud,” says Mogollon Rim District Ranger Brian Dykstra.
Wet road surfaces can’t support the weight of a vehicle. Driving on wet forest roads and driving off-road to avoid mud puddles, creates costly and often irreversible damage to soil and vegetation. More importantly, doing so is unsafe for forest users.
“In addition to waiting for the snow to melt, winter storms caused lots of downed trees which must be cleared before the road can be safely passable,” according to Dykstra. “We appreciate drivers’ understanding and patience waiting for the roads to dry out.”
Most forest roads are still closed above the Mogollon Rim off of Highways 87, 89A, 89, 180, Lake Mary Road/Forest Highway 3 and Interstate 17. Most forest roads are open below the Rim in pinyon-juniper areas east of Flagstaff, and in the Sedona/Red Rock area. The Cinder Hills Off-Highway Vehicle Area north of Flagstaff is open but not suitable for passenger cars. For updates on road conditions, check the Coconino National Forest Web site under “Current Conditions” www.
coconinoforest.us, or contact a Coconino National Forest office.
Peaks/Mormon Lake Ranger Districts, (928) 526-0866; Mogollon Rim Ranger District, (928) 477-2255; or Supervisor’s Office, (928) 527-3600.