Glacier Creek and Canyon Creek roads expected to reopen this fall

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 15, 2013 

Repairs are being made to Glacier Creek and Canyon Creek roads in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and they are expected to be reopened to vehicle traffic by mid-November.

Canyon Creek Road has been closed for nearly three years. Glacier Creek at the Thompson Creek Bridge has been shut down since May.

The roads were closed after storms caused washouts.

"The fixes are not ideal long-term fixes," said Erin Uloth, Mt. Baker District ranger. "We're making do with what we have right now in getting them back open."

Repairing Canyon Creek Road, also known as Forest Service road 31, will cost about $160,000. Repairs include installing a larger culvert at Dippy Creek to accommodate more water.

Canyon Creek Road is popular with snowmobilers in winter and mountain bikers in summer. The road is expected to reopen to the public in late October.

The price tag for Glacier Creek, also known as Forest Service road 39, will be about $95,000.

Glacier Creek Road, which begins in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and enters Mount Baker Wilderness, is popular with hikers when the snow melts out, and is a major access route for climbers heading up Mount Baker.

The road in the area has been the site of previous landslides and washouts. It is closed about seven miles from the start of the heavily used Heliotrope Ridge Trail.

Glacier Creek Road should reopen to vehicle traffic in mid-November, provided bad weather doesn't stop the work from being completed.

"We're excited that we're able to find a way to make this happen," Uloth said. "There's a lot of strong interest in seeing these roads stay open."

The U.S. Forest Service has struggled to find the money to repair and maintain roads in recent years, saying it has funding to maintain just a quarter of the 2,500 miles of roads in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Reach KIE RELYEA at kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2234.

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