Forest Road 23, a key route through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest from Trout Lake to Randle -- damaged in the November 2006 flood -- reopens for public use on Thursday, Sept. 18.
Takhlakh Lake and other scenic areas on the north end of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest will now be more accessible from the south end of the national forest near Trout Lake, Washington. Access to Mt. Adams from the north end of the national forest and the communities of Randle and Packwood also will benefit.
"I really appreciate the effort and partnership between the Federal Highway Administration and Gifford Pinchot National Forest engineering staff and road maintenance crews. I want to thank the public for their patience as we tackled Forest Road 23 and other forest roads washed out and damaged by flooding," said Ron Freeman, public services staff officer for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Forest Road 83 which provides access to Lava Canyon is under contract for road construction and is scheduled for reopening by the first week of October. Forest Road 83 and many other roads, bridges, and trails were damaged in the heavy flooding of November 2006.
The Forest Service has worked with the Federal Highway Administration to complete damage assessments, planning documents, and construction on key forest roads.
Forest Road 99, which provides access to Wind Ridge viewpoint located just four miles from Mount St. Helens crater, sustained heavy damage from last winter's severe conditions.
The Forest Service anticipates repairs being completed late this fall, in order to have the road open for the 2009 summer season.