Snow closing Gifford Pinchot forest roads

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



Roads Nos. 25 and 99 on the east side of Mount St. Helens in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest will be closed to vehicle traffic for the winter beginning Friday.

The Forest Service said on Wednesday there are more than 10 inches of snow at milepost 21 on road No, 25, which is the route connecting the Lewis River valley at Pine Creek Information Station with the Cowlitz valley.

About 10 inches of snow also were reported on road No. 23 at milepost 25. Road No. 23 connects Trout Lake and the Cowlitz valley via Baby Shoe Pass on the west flank of Mount Adams.

Road No. 99, which leads to the Windy Ridge viewpoint near Spirit Lake, has 8 to 10 inches of snow four miles west of the junction with road No. 25.

The snow level was at about 2,500 feet elevation at mid-afternoon on Wednesday in the southern Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Automated snow measuring sites operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service at 2 p.m. Wednesday reported 1 inch of snow at Pepper Creek (elevation 2,140 feet), 6 inches at June Lake (elevation 3,440 feet), 12 inches at Sheep Canyon (3,990 feet) and 19 inches at Surprise Lakes (4,290 feet).

The backcountry will be a popular spot beginning Thursday as the four-day late buck deer season opens. The late season generally produces 35 percent to 50 percent of the buck harvest in the modern firearms season in Southwest Washington.

Dave Tragethon of Mount Hood Meadows said the ski area hopes to get 10 to 14 inches of additional snow on Wednesday night and have a limited opening by Saturday.