FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - A significant change in weather is forecast for much of the Coconino National Forest, arriving late Sunday. The inclement weather could bring 1-2 inches of rain in lower elevations and anywhere from 12-24 inches of snow in higher elevations.
The Forest Service takes 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 the district offices, or check the Coconino National Forest website at www.coconinoforest.us. Drivers are reminded to avoid driving on saturated surfaces to prevent road damage, soil erosion and getting stuck. Due to inclement weather forecasted, Forest Road 552 to Lockett Meadow and Forest Road 301 in the Walnut Canyon area behind Continental Country Club will be closed beginning Saturday.
Seasonal Motorized Vehicle Closures - Two areas off of Highway 180 are subject to a "Seasonal Motorized Wheeled Vehicle Closure" from Dec. 1 - March 31, 2010. Areas closed to wheeled vehicles: The Wing Mountain Vehicle Closure encompasses the cross-country ski trails, 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.
Snowplay Area Notices - Wing Mountain Snowplay Area is located 10 miles northwest of Flagstaff off of Highway 180 on Forest Road 222B. 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 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 on weekdays at the Peaks Ranger Station, 5075 N. Highway 89, and the Coconino National Forest Supervisor's Office, 1824 S Thompson Street. 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