[5/9/17] Snow Melt Is Causing Extensive Damage Throughout National Forest

Posted in Feature

Across the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, crews and recreationists are reporting substantial road damages and washouts caused largely by flooding from heavy snowpack melt and continued spring rains. Popular roads such as the South Fork Tieton Road near Naches, Cow Creek Road near Twisp, and Bailey Creek Road near Tonasket are completely impassable and could require extensive, long-term repairs…

050817 Spring Run Washouts 1 :11 “…get them passable again.”

That’s Holly Krake, Public Affairs Officer with the Forest Service. She said Forest engineers and crews are working to document damage, make small repairs where they are able and prepare assessments to secure additional funding if eligible…

050817 Spring Run Washouts 2 :33 “…done out in the field.”

Massive washouts, such as one nearly 100 feet long and 50 feet deep on the South Fork Tieton Road, will require extensive design, engineering and environmental analysis to develop a solution for decades to come, Krake said. She said part of the process is prioritizing repairs, as some roads aren’t used all that often and some fixes are more expensive than others, like the 60-foot canyon created by runoff last spring on Black Canyon Road near Winthrop.

Krake said the Forest Service relies heavily on forest users to report washouts and erosion…

050817 Spring Run Washouts 3 :42 “…out there on the Forest.”

Krake said roadbeds at higher elevations where the snow is just melting off are saturated and road shoulders are very soft and easily give way.

If you do come across damage to a Forest Service road, Krake said, they ask that you provide the road number, milepost number and/or nearest stream crossing.

Crews will be working throughout the spring and summer to repair hundreds of miles of roads, clear culverts, and clear debris slides.