How Good are the Roads to Your Favorite Hikes?

Every couple of years, us hikers hear about a road to a popular hike that is closed because of a washout or slide. Once this happens, it is very difficult for the Forest Service to conjure up the funds to fix it. We have to think about how great that trail was until the road is fixed. You see...we assume that they will be fixed! This is not always the case.

Today was very wet, and every stream in the mountains was at or over capacity. As I was driving my kids to Kelcema Lake on the Deer Creek Road off of the Mountain Loop Highway, I was a bit worried with all of the water on the road. It was not just potholes, but actually a stream running in one of the ruts of the dirt road. This is the same problem that trails have and it causes major erosion.

I have some friends who dedicate a lot of their time to volunteer road maintenance due to the lack of funds for the Forest Service to take care of these backroads. From what I understand, sometimes it can be clogged culverts that are usually in place to give an exit for high flow sections of ditches. This is a relatively easy fix as far as finances go. 

What about the sections of unpaved road that require a culvert, but one was never placed to begin with?

This road in particular, and also Coal Lake Road, has a spot where a stream is running straight across the road and not under it. I assume this was planned, and the section of road like this on Deer Creek Road is paved. My concern is the section on Coal Lake Road where the stream is flowing over the gravel itself. I have not researched this planning, but it has to be encouraging erosion. 

Either way, I think that this should be more of a concern in the hiking community and hopefully more people can lend a hand in helping the cause.

If you are looking to help out then please check out this Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-For-Public-Use/290254154329984

By: Rudy Giecek

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