Forest Road 25 at Benham Creek 5 miles north of the Forest Road 99 junction to Windy Ridge may be closed at any time due to a landslide. Gifford Pinchot National Forest officials just made the announcement.
A large landslide closed the road last winter, and a temporary bridge was installed in June to provide access along the major north and south road. Recent heavy rains are dislodging additional material at the Benham Creek site forcing forest officials to consider a complete closure to protect the public.
Forest staffers have started work with Federal Highways on design and replacement of the bridge over Benham Creek. Completion of the permanent bridge is scheduled for 2011.
Forest officials also are cautioning visitors to check ahead on road conditions as snow levels drop below 3,000 feet in elevation. This is a particular warning to those people who will be heading out to cut a Christmas tree, with a forest permit
Snow plowing on Gifford Pinchot National Forest roads occurs only to Sno-Parks through the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission as funding allows. The majority of Forest roads are not plowed for snow, and forest visitors are cautioned to plan their visit to the based on increasing snow levels and the possibility of getting stranded if they drive forest roads at higher elevation. Currently, about 2 feet of snow blankets elevations above 4,000 feet.
Or you can call any of these Gifford Pinchot National Forest offices:
Forest headquarters in Vancouver, Wash.: 360-891-5000
Cowlitz Valley Ranger District in Randle: 360-497-1100
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument headquarters in Amboy: 360-449-7800
Mount Adams Ranger District in Trout Lake: 509-395-3400