Spring runoff closes Bitterroot National Forest road

Posted at 11:28 AM, Apr 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 13:28:49-04

HAMILTON – The Stevensville Ranger District has temporarily closed Willow Creek Road east of Corvallis due to spring runoff. 

Bitterroot National Forest spokesman Tod McKay says several vehicles have reported getting stuck recently due to excessive snow-melt causing the road surfaces to soften. 

When vehicles drive on soft roads, they create wheel tracks and ruts which can hold and channel water and lead to erosion, expensive repairs, and sometimes road failure," McKay noted in a news release.

The closure begins at the forest boundary, two miles before the trailhead and continues to the end of the road.  

“It’s that time of year when some roads are closed for short periods of time due to spring break-up,” said Bitterroot Forest Supervisor Julie King.  “The Forest can experience damage to roads when people are trying to get out early to explore or gather firewood when road conditions are at their worst.  We will continue to monitor conditions and re-open closed roads as soon as conditions improve.”     

Besides causing damage to forest roadways, early spring conditions can also create significant safety hazards for the public.  Hazardous conditions can develop quickly from rapidly rising waters. 

The Bitterroot National Forest typically issues short-term closures each spring, according to McKay. The public is asked to respect the signs or barricades that will be used to keep vehicles off these roads until they dry out or firm up.