Seasonal road closures on Mt. Lemmon begin | News
MT. LEMMON, AZ (Tucson News Now)- Starting December 17, the Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest will temporarily close and lock gates on seasonal roads and day-use sites in the upper elevations of Mt. Lemmon. These closures are due to weather related unsafe driving conditions. This closure does not apply to the Catalina Highway, which will remain open, but may close periodically due to weather conditions.
These closures happen every year, and in recent years Forest officials have delayed closures until snow accumulates. Many of these closures start on December 15, and many can expect them to reopen by March 1, unless weather conditions render them drivable or not before those dates.
Season closures are primarily for public safety, but also aid district personnel in limiting road maintenance that occurs when forest roads are used during winter weather. While these roads remain closed to vehicles, they remain open for hikers, cross country skiers, bicyclists and other non-motorized users.
Those roads and day use sites that are affected by the seasonal closure are: Lower and Upper Control roads, Marshall Gulch Road, Lower and Upper Bear Wallow roads, Bigelow Road, Incinerator Ridge Road, Organization Ridge Road, the road into General Hitchcock and the Lemmon Rock Road to the top of Mt Lemmon above Ski Valley. The roads into Rose and Spencer canyon campgrounds were closed at an earlier date when the recreation areas were closed for the season.
In a recent news release Larry Pratt, District Recreation Staff Officer, points to public safety and road maintenance as contributing to the need for seasonal road and day use site closures. "We apologize for any inconvenience due to temporary road closures. However, we realize that snow and ice make travel difficult. Often, people in vehicles become stranded, resulting in emergency responses by Forest Service staff, the Pima County Sheriff's Department, and towing companies. Our goal is to reduce this impact to people by closing seasonal roads and sites. Freezing and thawing of the forest road surfaces this time of year can also make them more prone to damage from vehicles, which then results in poor road conditions in the spring and summer when the demand for their use is highest."
Lower elevation recreation sites will be open for public use, including Molino Basin Campground, Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area, and Peppersauce Campground.
For more information on closures please contact Larry Pratt at (520) 749-7710
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