Forest Road No. 23 won’t open in 2016

Washouts require too much repair work for summer

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter

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A portion of Road No. 23, a major north-south route across the Gifford Pinchot National Forest connecting Trout Lake and the Cowlitz River valley, will not open in 2016.

The Forest Service announced Friday the north section has two total washouts and partial washouts in other places. The scope of the work is too great to complete this summer.

The southern section of Road No. 23 from Trout Lake heading north to the west side of Mount Adams will be open once the snow melts, said Camden McMahon of the Mount Adams Ranger District.

That means motorists will be able to drive to popular Takhlakh Lake and the Muddy Meadows, Divide Camp and Killen Creek trailheads, she said

McMahon said the snow is melting slowly. Currently, Road No. 23 heading north is open only for a few miles from Trout Lake. Road No. 24 also has snow. Road No. 66 has snow before reaching South Prairie.

Motorists from the Cowlitz Valley will be able to detour around the washouts on Road No. 23 by using Road No. 21, she said.

Road No. 26 also will not open this year due to damage in multiple locations.

Road No. 25 is blocked by snow at the south end. Road No. 99 is inaccessible due to snow.

The Forest Service has applied for emergency relief from the Federal Highway Administration. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest also will reallocate part of its road budget toward the repairs.