FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2015
Mendocino Forest visitors urged to be aware of wet weather closures
WILLOWS, Calif. – Due to historically strong El Niño patterns, recent storms and more wet weather in the forecast, the Mendocino National Forest is encouraging visitors to monitor the weather and check conditions before visiting Forest recreation sites.
The first wet weather closure of the season was implemented today for both the Grindstone and Upper Lake Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail systems after trails were saturated by more than 2 inches of rain in 24 hours. The trails will reopen after at least 48 hours of no measurable precipitation.
The closure orders are formally referenced as Order Numbers 08-15-07 and 08-15-08. They are available online at www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino.
Recent drenching storms may have impacted roads in the forest. If you come across an area where the road is compromised or washed out, please report it to Forest Engineer Shannon Pozas at 530-934-3316.
As winter conditions return to the Mendocino National Forest, all visitors are asked to be cautious when recreating on the forest, whether they are driving, hiking, camping or enjoying other recreational pursuits – including selecting a Christmas tree.
“While this wet weather gives hope to the drought-stricken Mendocino and many other parts of California, it also presents some challenges for visitors enjoying our Forest during early winter through spring,” said Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson. “Potential hazards to both visitors and forest resources arise when weather conditions are constantly changing throughout the season. We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable trip to the forest, while preserving resources so they can be enjoyed for years to come. To help with this, visitors are asked to be prepared for changing conditions, aware of their surroundings, and minimize impacts to saturated roads and trails.”
Many popular trails and some access points to recreation sites on the Mendocino involve crossing normally small creeks and streams. Caution should be used at these stream crossings. People and vehicles can be swept away by currents in even relatively shallow water. Also, conditions can change rapidly and a stream that was easy to cross in the morning can become impassable by afternoon, trapping people on the wrong side.
Following are some additional safety suggestions for those recreating in the forest this winter:
· Plan your trip – check the weather, bring plenty of warm clothes, water, emergency food, tire chains, shovel and any other supplies necessary for the activity. Call to check if the area you are planning to visit is still open and accessible.
· Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you leave and are prepared for changing conditions in the mountains!
· Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back. Cellphone service within the forest can be limited.
· Keep vehicles on designated roads and trails and be aware of changing weather and road conditions. Wet dirt roads can quickly turn to mud, making it possible to get stuck and causing damage to road, soil and water resources. If there are puddles in the road, mud flipping off the tires or you can see your ruts in the rearview mirror, consider pulling over to hike or turning around and finding a different area.
For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino.