FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Winter weather is forecast for colder, snowy conditions across much of the Coconino National Forest. The Forest Service takes several measures to provide for the safety of winter visitors and protect forest resources.
Road Closures - Many forest roads are seasonally closed due to wet or snowy conditions, especially in higher elevations. Watch for posted closure signs, call one of our offices, or check our Web site listed below. Drivers are reminded to avoid driving on saturated surfaces to prevent road damage, soil erosion and getting stuck. Forest roads already closed to motorized access are: All roads along Highway 87 and Forest Highway 3, Lockett Meadow Road 552 and Elden Lookout Road 557. Additional roads which usually close due to snow include: Schultz Pass Road 420, Elden Springs Road 556, Freidlein Prairie Road 522, Hart Prairie Road 151 (except for residents), Forest Road 245 (to Lava River Cave), Forest Road 418 (north side of San Francisco Peaks) and Forest Road 794.
Seasonal Motorized Vehicle Closures - Two areas off of Highway 180 are subject to a "Seasonal Motorized Wheeled Vehicle Closure" from Dec. 1 - March 31. These areas are closed to wheeled vehicles. The Wing Mountain Vehicle Closure encompasses the cross-country ski trails and the snowplay area and includes Forest Roads 222, 519, 519A and 222B beyond Wing Mountain parking area. The Flagstaff Nordic Center Vehicle Closure includes the trail system and Forest Road 151E. These seasonal closures are implemented in order to provide managed winter recreation areas.
Pre-Season Snowbowl Road Closure - Snowbowl Road is closed on weekends when winter road conditions exist and the ski area is not open. Arizona Snowbowl is responsible for all snowplow and cinder operations on Snowbowl Road, but does not plow on weekends when they are closed.
Snowplay Area Notices - Wing Mountain Snowplay Area is located 10 miles northwest of Flagstaff off Highway 180 on Forest Road 222B; this site may be opening soon if enough snow falls. The cost per vehicle is $10. This site is managed by Recreation Resource Management under a Temporary Special Use Permit with services including parking management, snowplowing, restrooms, and trash receptacles. For conditions at Wing Mountain call (928) 226-0493 or visit www.snowplayaz.com. The Cinch Hook Pit area is currently closed to winter visitors and all snow recreation. For updates on the Cinch Hook area, please contact the Mogollon Rim Ranger District at (928) 477-2255.
Backcountry Travel on the San Francisco Peaks - Winter recreationists who plan on snowshoeing or skiing or snowboarding in backcountry areas should think "preparedness." The most important aspect of preparedness is to provide someone with detailed trip plans, including exact locations and expected trip length. Winter backcountry travel into the Kachina Peaks Wilderness from Arizona Snowbowl requires a free seasonal backcountry permit. Backcountry permits are available in Flagstaff Monday -Friday at the Peaks Ranger Station, 5075 N. Highway 89, and the Coconino National Forest Supervisor's Office, 1824 S Thompson St.
Permits will also be available at Arizona Snowbowl's Agassiz Lodge weekend mornings when the ski area opens. The best source for information on current snow conditions in the San Francisco Peaks backcountry is the Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center www.kachinapeaks.org.
For more information, contact the Coconino National Forest: Supervisor's Office at (928) 527-3600 or visit www.coconinoforest.us.