Some popular locations in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will be temporarily closed or have crews doing restoration and repair work this summer. Forest officials advise visitors of the following changes and projects:
• An extreme windstorm on June 25 blew down thousands of trees across the Methow Valley and Tonasket Ranger Districts, according to Shannon O’Brien, an information assistant for the forest. Crews are assessing damage and cutting open roads in the aftermath.
The storm also wreaked havoc on many forest sites including Beaver Lake Campground, east of Tonasket. Crews had been working to reopen the campground after flooding and are now faced with the removal of several large downed trees. Until work is completed, the campground will remain closed.
• River restoration work in the Chewuch will occur between Falls Creek and Twentymile Creek. Wood will be placed in the river at key locations to create juvenile rearing and adult holding habitat for salmon and steelhead. Some of the less-accessible locations will get their delivery of wood by helicopter on July 9. While the helicopter work occurs, temporary closures will be in place for three dispersed campsites up Twentymile creek and on the East Chewuch Road #5010000 just south of the LeRoy Pit.
The access road #5010000 to the Brevicomis Recreational Cabins will also be closed for a little over half of the day on July 9 and flaggers and a pilot car will be moving people on West Chewuch Road during this time. Eightmile Creek Sno-park will be closed while helicopter work occurs.
“We know that the closures will be an impact, particularly to those with recreation residences in Brevicomis,” said Matt Marsh, acting Methow Valley district ranger. “We are doing all we can to keep the closures as short as possible.”
• Crater Creek Trailhead, a popular location for accessing the Lake Chelan Sawtooth Backcountry, will be closed for construction work beginning in late July. The trails, including Crater Creek #416, Martin Creek #429 and Eagle Lakes #431 remain open and could be accessed via Foggy Dew Trailhead.
• Access to Thirtymile Trailhead on Chewuch Road was blocked by a washout. The road is closed at Andrews Creek.
• A short-term closure is necessary to complete improvements at Irongate Trailhead. The closure is expected to be in place for about one week beginning July 9. Individuals wanting to visit the east side of the Pasayten Wilderness can still do so through Chewuch, 14 Mile and Windy Peak (Long Swamp) trailheads.
• Additional campsites are being added to the Salmon Meadows Campground. The added facilities will better accommodate some of the larger RVs.
Marsh urged forest users to check for current information about conditions. Forest Service offices are in Omak, (509) 486-5145; Tonasket, (509) 486-2186; and Winthrop, (509) 996-4000. Updates about campground, road and trail conditions are also posted online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/okawen/recreation.