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Severe Thunderstorms Cause Road and Trail Damage on the National Forest in Inyo County


By: Deb Schweizer, Acting Public Affairs Officer Inyo National Forest

July 31, 2013 - Two separate thunderstorm events that occurred the evening of July 21st and the afternoon of July 28th have caused damage to several roads, trails, and other infrastructure on the Mt. Whitney Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest.

Localized storm cells dropped several inches of water on to mountain slopes causing landslides, debris flows, and major rock fall. As a result, some roads are impassable to passenger vehicles and some roads are impassable to all vehicles and have been temporarily closed.

Trail washouts have left two trails, Shepherd's Pass and Taboose Pass, impassable to stock and very difficult for hikers and backpackers. The Inyo National Forest is working with Inyo County, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Southern California Edison to inventory the damage, make repairs, and make roads and trails passable again as quickly as possible.

Areas on the Inyo National Forest with known damage include:

· Haiwee Pass Road and Trail – Road and trail are temporarily closed. There is major damage to the road, trailhead, and trail.

· Wyman Canyon Road – Road is impassable to passenger vehicles and very difficult to travel for off-highway vehicles.

· Foothill Road – Sections of the road are impassable to passenger vehicles as a result of wash outs at Shepherd Creek and the North Fork of Bairs Creek.

· Division Creek – Road is closed a half mile before the powerhouse.

· Mazourka Canyon – Road is closed.

Several other roads within and entering Death Valley National Park were also affected by the storm and are impassable or closed. Visitors traveling off the paved road system in Death Valley are encouraged to check on road conditions with the National Park Service.

Temporary road closures are in place on roads where all types of vehicles, including motorcycles, will be unable to pass and in areas where loose rock and debris are creating potential safety hazards to the public. To protect public safety and to expedite repair efforts, the U.S. Forest Service is asking the public not to enter these closed areas or any area posted with a temporary closure where road work and repairs may be taking place.

For additional information and updates, please call the Interagency Visitor Center at (760) 876-6200 or stop by Visitor Center at the junction of Highways 136 and 395. Information can also be obtained by contacting the Inyo County Roads Department at 760-878-0201 or by visiting the Inyo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/inyo.


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