Fish Creek Falls footbridge to close for spring runoff season
The U.S. Forest Service plans to close the footbridge at Fish Creek Falls throughout the spring runoff season. With a year of heavy precipitation that could bring over 500 inches of snowfall, rangers are wary of the historical bridge’s shelf life.
Fish Creek Falls, the top rated “thing to do” on Tripadvisor for Steamboat Springs, became a designated National Recreational Trail in 1979. The nearly 300 foot waterfall and surrounding trails serve as a popular spring and summer destination for locals and tourists.
Local district rangers predict the bridge will remain closed from the beginning of the runoff season this spring, generally beginning around March or April, until the runoff season is complete, which is typically in late June.
“Once things start melting and the water starts rising, or when it gets to the point where we need to close the bridge for the sake of people’s safety, that’s when the closure will begin,” said Michael Woodbridge, district ranger for the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District.
Once runoff season ends, the Forest Service will assess the condition of the bridge and determine if any modifications are needed.
The concern is that the feature of the bridge meant to retain embankments, known as abutments, will not survive through a season with a lot of runoff.
“The way the bridge is so narrow where the abutments are, it narrows the channel and has been scouring away the abutments,” Woodbridge said. “We did a little work on them before winter began, but there’s probably going to be a lot more scouring with the amount of snow we have.”
Woodbridge said the Forest Service plans to issue a news release with more specifics later this winter.
Kit Geary is the county, public safety and education reporter. To reach her, call 970-871-4229 or email her at kgeary@SteamboatPilot.com.
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