Roads to Dolly Sods to be Closed for Winter

PETERSBURG, West Virginia, December 9, 2016 – Monongahela National Forest officials are preparing to expand the existing winter road closure in the Dolly Sods Area beginning January 1, 2017.
The expanded road closure will now include Forest Road 19, from its intersection at Jordan Run Road in Grant County to the Red Creek Trailhead near Laneville Cabin in Randolph County, and Forest Road 75, from the lower gate on FR 75 (approximately 1.6 miles west of its intersection at Jordan Run Road) to its intersection with Forest Road 19, on the Cheat-Potomac Ranger District of the Monongahela National Forest. The gates will be closed by January 1, 2017 and will reopen as soon as conditions allow for safe passage, normally in mid-April or early May.
This expanded road closure has been an increasing priority for local, state, and federal officials over the last few years as numerous stranded motorists 911 calls are reported each year. Vehicles stranded in snow, weather related accidents, and search and rescue efforts for missing motorists have all occurred in the Dolly Sods area over the years as people underestimate the effects of deep snows and high winds, as well as the challenges of driving on steep, unplowed roads. These situations lead to putting first responders and tow vehicle drivers at risk as well. The harsh weather also contributes to difficulties in maintaining roads adequately, especially during spring freeze and thaw cycles. Allowing vehicle use too early in the year damages the driving surface and increases maintenance costs.
Grant County and the Monongahela National Forest have worked together to utilize gates previously installed by Grant County on FR 19 and FR75 near Jordan Run Road in order to implement the expanded road closure. Earlier this year, the Forest Service installed a new gate on FR19 near Laneville Cabin east of Red Creek Trailhead in Randolph County, where motorists travelling from State Route 32 can continue to access the trailhead and turn around before the gate. Together these three gates will effectively close the area to vehicular traffic at lower elevations.
Cheat-Potomac District Ranger Troy Waskey noted that “while these roads on the National Forest will be seasonally closed to motorized vehicles, non-motorized uses are still available and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of winter opportunities to hunt, fish, hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski.”
Forest officials worked closely with Grant, Tucker, and Randolph Counties to ensure private landowners are not significantly affected, and with local 911 center directors and first responders to ensure their concerns were taken into account. They also considered winter recreational and hunting use of the area and determined the public safety concerns outweighed the inconvenience of closing vehicular access to the area.

more recommended stories