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Sequoia Forests roads slow to open due to storm hazards

Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument Alicia Embrey

The summer season is upon us in the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest. Due to storm damage conditions, many Western Divide Ranger District roads accessing popular trailheads and high mountain vistas will stay closed.

Many roads have been severely damaged due to the heavy precipitation over the winter months as well as snow melt runoff in the spring. Heavy equipment is required to remove the overabundance of large boulders blocking roads, repair washed-out culverts, fill in large holes in the roadway, and add support where roads are collapsing, delaying road openings. Additionally, numerous dead trees have fallen onto roadways and need to be moved. Forest personnel are busy abating these hazards as time and equipment allow.

State and County maintained roads are heavily impacted by the same weather conditions. Highway 190 sustained major damage in several locations, making it impassible between Springville and Ponderosa. Caltrans is working on repairs in anticipation of having it open from Springville to Camp Nelson by late summer and from Camp Nelson to Ponderosa before winter.

A list of Forest Service-administered roads in the Western Divide Ranger District that remain closed for public safety and resource protection can be found on the Sequoia National Forest website, specifically Forest Closure Order 0513-23-11. This closure Order prohibits motorized vehicles; access is only permitted on foot, bicycle, or other non-motorized means of travel.

Visitors should also view the Fire Recovery and Public Safety Forest Order 0513-22-12 for additional road and area closures due to work associated with the Castle and Windy Wildfire recovery efforts.

“The public’s safety is our number one priority, and I thank you for your patience as we continue to work on reopening the roads into these treasured places,” stated Acting District Ranger Chris Sanders.”