Runoff wreaked havoc on national forest

Recent high water and fast streamflows caused extensive damage to bridges, roads, water-diversion infrastructure, campgrounds and other facilities in the White River National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service says.

Forest engineers report that the agency may not know for several weeks just how much damage occurred as a result of recent accelerated snowmelt resulting from high temperatures.

Meanwhile, the public is being urged to be careful when approaching bridges, especially those having significant accumulation of debris on piers and footings. Such accumulation has been spotted on several bridges and may have caused structural damage requiring significant repairs.

People also are asked to report any damage to the Forest Service as soon as possible.

The forest’s supervisor, Scott Fitzwilliams, said in a news release, “Flood-damaged infrastructure will be costly to repair but we are committed to doing so as funding becomes available.”

Officials got their first idea of the possible damages sustained on the forest when a hiker reported last week that the Lower Cross Creek Bridge in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area near Vail had been washed out.

Also, water transmission facilities for the cities of Golden and Colorado Springs were damaged on the Dillon Ranger District, a vault for a new toilet in the Lost Man Campground near Aspen flooded, a mudslide occurred on the Piney Ranch Road near Vail, and individual sites at three campgrounds were flooded, in just a sampling of runoff-related problems, the Forest Service said.


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