Pole Mountain road closures began Feb. 1; public input sought on recent resource damage | From The Wire

LARAMIE – Seasonal road closures on the Pole Mountain unit went into effect Feb. 1, to protect resources in the Medicine Bow National Forest.

Sadly, the weekend prior to the closures, there was an incident of off-road travel causing resource damage, which now has prompted a law enforcement investigation.

Seasonally restricted routes are all roads on Pole Mountain except Interstate 80, Wyoming Highway 210, Forest Road 700 west of Vedauwoo Campground, Tie City and Happy Jack parking areas, as well as Forest Roads 719 and 719.A. Signage and swinging gates are used to ensure easy identification of closed areas.

To accommodate non-motorized public access during the closure period, three parking areas exist along Highway 210. The lots are located at the junction of the highway and Forest Roads 700 (Vedauwoo Road), 707 (Blair-Wallis Road), and 712 (Telephone Road).

The decision to seasonally close roads on Pole Mountain during snowmelt and/or wet conditions is a result of the Pole Mountain Travel Management project decision, signed in July 2017. Reduction of resource damage is the intent of the seasonal closures.

An extreme example of illegal off-road travel occurred the weekend Jan. 30 – 31, off the end of Forest Road 705.F in the Middle Crow Creek drainage.

A large group of off-highway vehicles drove off-road in and around wetlands, causing natural resource damage. The incident was reported to law enforcement and the USDA Forest Service is actively investigating.

Law enforcement from the Forest Service is requesting public assistance with the investigation.

If you have first-hand information about the incident that has not already been reported, please call the Medicine Bow National Forest – Laramie Ranger District anonymous tip line at 307-745-2392.

When calling the tip line, select option 5 (“to report any other information”). Please provide information about the date, time, location, and any identifying facts about the activity. You are not required to leave your name or contact information, but it can be helpful in identifying responsible individuals.

Pole Mountain is still available for public use with the road closures in place. Non-motorized access for a wide variety of activities and uses is permitted during the closure period.

The end date of the annual closure is flexible, as it is dependent on weather and road conditions. District staff will monitor and evaluate conditions on Pole Mountain during late spring to facilitate the re-opening of all roads as soon as practical.

For more information about this closure, contact the Laramie Ranger District at 307-745-2300. You can also visit https://fs.usda.gov/mbr, or follow us on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB.

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