Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The United States Forest Service recently announced it has lifted the closure order for Cloud Cap Road located on the northeastern flank of Mount Hood in the Hood River Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest.
The 9-mile forest service road, which provides vehicular access to popular attractions such as the historic Cloud Cap Inn and the Tilly Jane cabin, was closed in July 2013 over concerns that trees killed by the 2008 Gnarl Ridge fire would finally topple and fall across the road. The closure, which banned road access by all methods of travel, canceled plans made by the forest service to guide tours at Cloud Cap Inn last summer.
Logging operations commenced in October to fall the approximately 5,000 trees located within 50 feet of either side of the road that may have posed a potential danger to passersby. The logs will be decked this spring and hauled out of the forest to be used in streams for fish restoration projects.
Though the closure order has been lifted, Cloud Cap Road frequently remains impassible by car until late spring due to the snow and road conditions. The forest service often gates roads to prevent intrepid motorists from traveling on them.
Janeen Tervo, district ranger for the Hood River Ranger District, advised that the road may be periodically closed again throughout the spring, although the time and duration of the closure isn’t known at this point.
“In order to make sure the contractor can complete the work, we may need to manage traffic,” Tervo said.
“I want to keep [the closure] as simple as possible and make sure the road is open as much as possible,” she added.
Tervo also wanted people to be aware that “hazard trees are still present” outside of the 50-foot buffer on either side of Cloud Cap Road and hikers should exercise caution when entering the forest. The Gnarl Ridge fire, which was started by lightning, ended up burning over 500 acres.
Tervo expected work on decking and hauling out the logs would begin in April and the road would be fully open by the end of June, but added that timetable was contingent on how long it takes for the snow to melt and for the machines to be able to get up the road.
“It’s really dependent on the contactor and when the road dries out,” she said. “Mother Nature is the driver.”
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge