TUSAYAN - The Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest plans to temporarily close additional roads to vehicle access starting tomorrow morning due to public safety and resource damage concerns. As of Wednesday afternoon, the district closed vehicle access to roads on the east side of state Highway 64 south of Tusayan because of extremely wet and muddy conditions. Tomorrow morning, vehicle access to roads on the west side of Highway 64 will also be closed temporarily.
"We want people to understand that as soon as these roads dry out a little, we plan to start reopening them," said Tusayan District Ranger Rick Stahn. "However, for the next few days, we expect conditions to be so potentially hazardous that we had to temporarily limit vehicle access."
The Tusayan Ranger District has received significant snowfall, which is melting during warmer, daytime hours. Motorists have encountered extremely slushy, muddy and hazardous driving conditions. Damage to forest roads and resources is occurring.
"Not only are we concerned about public safety, but we are also trying to protect forest resources," Stahn said. "When conditions are extremely wet and muddy, it is very easy for damage to occur. For example, it is not unusual for us to find deep, long tire ruts on and near roadways following winter weather."
Roads accessing the Tusayan Ranger District on both the east and west sides of Highway 64 south of Tusayan will be closed to vehicle access tomorrow morning. Forest roads in the Upper Basin area on the east side of Highway 64 are remaining open.
Forest managers will reopen the roads to vehicle use as soon as conditions allow. For more information, please call the Tusayan Ranger District at (928) 638-2443.