A closure order remains in effect on a portion of the Roosevelt National Forest west of Fort Collins due to conditions created by the High Park Fire.
The High Park Fire burned more than 42,000 acres of National Forest System lands and continues to smolder. As of June 30, the fire is 97 percent contained. The fire has kept Highway 14 closed for weeks. Now that the highway as opened, some recreation areas will start to open as well.
“Visitor safety is our highest priority,” Forest Supervisor Glenn Casamassa said. “The majority of campgrounds and recreation areas remain closed and general Forest use is still prohibited within and surrounding the High Park Fire perimeter. Until a full safety assessment has been conducted and hazards are mitigated, these restrictions will remain in place. Hazards include falling branches or trees, rolling rocks, landslides and contaminated water.”
The closure prohibits all activities within an area of the Canyon Lakes Ranger District bounded by County Road 44H on the south, the High Park Fire northern perimeter on the north, the forest boundary on the east and 300 feet west of Pingree Park Road on the west.
The closure includes campgrounds, trailheads and trails, and Forest Service Roads in that area. This closure also restricts dispersed recreation on the lands identified. Developed areas will be closed for the coming days or weeks until they are assessed to determine when they can be safely opened. Some campgrounds and recreation areas in the Poudre Canyon could open as soon as July 2, depending on what is found.
River access is open, including launch sites, for fishing, rafting, and kayaking. If using the river, scout the area out for potential hazards and expect that river conditions may have changed due to the fire.
Visitors and residents can check the web at http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/arp/recreation for the latest information or call the visitor information center at 970-295-6700. Summer hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
When visitors and residents are allowed to return to recreate, they should prepare for a significant visible change to the scenery and landscape, as well as new hazards. Smoke may also be visible in the fire area for weeks to come.