ROAD TO STAIRCASE TO CLOSE FRIDAY
Due to safety concerns for Olympic National Forest visitors, Forest Service Road 24 is scheduled to close to all motorized vehicle access beginning Friday. The road is the main access point for the Staircase area of Olympic National Park. The gated closure, located just beyond the Mt. Rose subdivision, began as a precaution following the 2006 Bear Gulch II fire which burned approximately 1200 acres directly above the road. This safety measure is necessary to prevent injury to the public from rock and debris slides expected throughout the rainy winter season. Due to the steep topography, this section of road sometimes experiences debris and rock slides during the winter months, requiring routine cleanup and maintenance. However, the fire increased the amount of debris significantly, as storms from last winter caused so much debris to cover the road that repairs took until the end of June to complete. An assessment team will continue to evaluate conditions, monitor slope stability and track debris accumulations to determine the level of winter access in the future. The Forest Service will announce a scheduled opening date in the spring when risk levels return to normal and debris removal and maintenance can begin.