As fire recovery continues, more areas open to nonmotorized use

Work continues to restore motorized routes; Caution advised in burned areas

Meg Soyars
Sky-Hi News
Keyser Ridge Road and Kinney Creek Road remain closed to motorized use.
US Forest Service/Courtesy photo

Fire recovery work in the areas of the 2020 East Troublesome and Williams Fork wildfires is ramping up this summer. The two fires combined burned over 300 square miles in Grand County; since then, numerous roads and trails have remained closed to driving and recreation. Thanks to efforts by the Forest Service and other partners, some areas are being reopened for nonmotorized use. Currently, recovery efforts are underway in parts of the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests damaged by the Williams Fork Fire, as well as Bureau of Land Management lands in Grand County damaged by the East Troublesome Fire.

As these recovery efforts continue, the Arapaho National Forest’s Sulphur Ranger District updated its fire area closure orders with some adjustments this week.

Since the fires, many areas have reopened to public use. Numerous roads, trails and bridges are being rebuilt and slope stabilization is occurring in critical areas through aerial mulching. The Ranger District’s 2022 revised closure order reopens many roads and trails to nonmotorized use.

While critical mitigation efforts have been completed along most roads and trails, the Ranger District cautions the public that dead and burned trees are very unstable and can fall without warning at any time. Visitors are at greater risk when traveling at high speeds, particularly in open-sided vehicles, and when camping in burned forested areas. Burned areas also contain many unseen hazards, such as burned stump holes, which present a danger to people walking off trail.

Areas that remain closed may be prone to flooding, landslides, and rock and tree fall. In addition, many of the closed motorized routes have severely damaged infrastructure such as bridges. On June 26, rains caused a mudslide in the burn scar on Colorado Highway 125 in Granby. The mudslide closed both sides of the highway. Risks for mudslides are always present in the summer months.

Many residents and visitors are looking forward to camping this summer. Dispersed camping will be allowed within 300 feet of most open roads; however, there are some open roads that will still be closed to dispersed camping due to potential risk of flooding, landslides and debris flow. The Bull Mountain dispersed camping area remains closed to accommodate crews who are helping the recovery effort.

The closures are temporary. National Forest managers are working hard to reopen all routes to the public. They will regularly reassess the closure areas to provide the right balance of public safety and reasonable access. 

Williams Fork Fire Closure Area

The following roads and trails remain closed to motorized use:

  • Keyser Ridge Road (FSR 140.3) at the trailhead; adjacent motorized routes (M140, M141, M142)
  • Kinney Creek Road (FSR 141.1)

East Troublesome Closure Area

Camping is prohibited within a quarter mile of Highway 125 in Grand County. The following roads and trails remain closed to motorized use:

US Forest Service/Courtesy image
  • Road to Bowen Gulch Interpretive Trail (120.5)The trail itself has reopened to nonmotorized use.
  • Grave Road (818.1)
  • Soda Pass (M120), Blizzard Pass (M121), Middle Supply (M123), North Supply Loop (M124), Spruce Em Up Jack (M125), Eagle Perch Overlook (M136)
  • Gilsonite Road and spurs (123.2A, 123.2B, 123.2G)
  • Trail Creek Road (116)
  • Camway (M113), Trail Creek Spur (M114), Lower Gilsonite (M115), Beaver Line (M116), Gilsonite II (M118.2)
  • Stillwater Summit Rd (815.1), Gilsonite Access Rd (814.1)
  • West Stillwater Trail (M25.1), Sherman Creek (M50), 
  • Kauffman Creek (FSR 121.1)
  • Gold Run (190.1)
  • Cabin Creek 112 (and all adjacent roads)
  • Mulstay (258.1 and spurs)
  • Parkview Spur (265.1)
  • Parkview (267 and spurs)

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