Conflicting information about whether school busses are safe in Rist Canyon

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Update: Rist Canyon Chief Bob Gann called to clarify that both Larimer County Road & Bridge and Poudre School District have determined that Rist Canyon is safe for busses.

There are four spots where the road is down to one lane, said Gann, “but the new culverts did great. They were a lifesaver, and damage to the road would have been much worse without them. Road and Bridge has been working their butts off, and are doing a really good job fixing things as quickly as they can while still accommodating the limited local traffic.”

We’re getting conflicting information at North Forty about the condition of the road up Rist Canyon. The volunteer fire department is saying that no large vehicles should be on the road and driving it is risky, but Poudre Valley Schools is saying the road is safe for school busses.

From the Rist Canyon VFD:

Rist Canyon is “officially” closed – meaning is does not meet the requirements normal for such a road. However, in recognition that people must be able to resupply, residents and those directly supporting residents will be allowed in and out. Know that if you are driving on that road – you are taking risks. If you drive over an undercut area and it collapses, it is at your peril.

Because of that:
• Please minimize trips – carpool with your neighbors.
• No large vehicles – trailers and such – unless absolutely needed.
• Construction/repair crews are allowed.
• There is construction – you may face significant delays.

This from Poudre School District:

On Monday, September 16, 2013, the PSD Director of Transportation, along with the Vehicle Maintenance Manager, drove through Rist Canyon to observe first-hand the existing road conditions and the status of the repair work taking place. After receiving permission from Larimer County officials, as well as consulting with the bus driver and road crew, it was decided that the road is safe for school bus travel, beginning Tuesday, September 17, 2013.


  1. The essence of this article is incorrect. The independent statements quoted here are taken out of context and that appears to create a conflict. RCVFD has not communicated with Poudre School District or LC R&B regarding bus travel at all. I would defer to Larimer Cty R&B and PSD on that issue. It is also true that the road is significantly damaged and is more dangerous that than normal. We do need to minimize traffic and keep it to essential essential traffic. Larimer R&B crews are working hard to stabilize and repair the road – and more traffic makes that work harder.
    The key is keep traffic to essential traffic. School buses could certainly fit that description.
    Bob Gann –
    Fire Chief, RCVFD

    • Bob: Thanks for the reply. Just passing along parents’ concerns. They trust you, because you know that road better than anyone. And if you say it’s okay for busses, then it’s one less thing to worry about.

      — Doug

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