GRANBY - This Memorial Day Weekend thousands of people are expected to recreate on the Arapaho National Forest. Due to warmer and drier than normal spring conditions, many areas of the National Forest have opened weeks ahead of schedule.
Areas that will be open to the public this weekend include: Stillwater Road to the mid-slope gate, much of the Arapaho National Recreation Area, including the Monarch Lake trailhead and Meadow Creek, FSR 128, lower Moffat Road, Leland Creek Road, Vasquez Road, Elk Creek Road, St. Louis Creek Road, Keyser Creek and Beaver Creek.
Several campgrounds also will be opening in the Sulphur Ranger District ahead of schedule this weekend, including Arapaho Bay, Cutthroat Bay, Denver Creek, Willow Creek, St. Louis Creek and Idlewild. Green Ridge, Stillwater and Sunset Point campgrounds are already open.
Open boat launches include Green Ridge, Stillwater, Sunset and Arapaho Bay.
Visitors should anticipate snow and mud at higher elevations and be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. Also, outdoor ethusiasts should be aware that dead and live trees can fall without warning. They should avoid stands of dead trees, particularly on windy days, and should place tents and campers in open areas. Bring a hand saw or ax to avoid becoming trapped. And be alert for trees that may have fallen across roads and trails, particularly when traveling at higher speeds on ATVs, bikes and in motor vehicles.
Some areas of the National Forest will remain temporarily closed this weekend due to hazard tree and fuels reduction work. Heavy machinery is in use in these areas and trees are being felled and moved. Forest visitors should respect these closures for their own safety and so contractors may complete their work quickly.
In the Grand Lake area, Kawuneeche Road (FS 120) North Supply and South Supply roads are temporarily closed for hazard tree removal. For safety reasons, adjacent trails, including Blizzard Pass, Bowen Gulch and the connector trail, Burn and After Burn, Soda Pass and Lower Soda Pass, Middle Supply, North Supply Loop and North South are also temporarily closed to all users, including those traveling on foot, bike, ATV and horseback.
In the Winter Park area, Little Vasquez Road and adjacent trails (Ice Hill, Chickadee, lower Serenity and East Twin Bridges, as well as Elk Meadow Trail and D2) will be temporarily closed to all users, including those traveling on foot, bike, ATV and horseback. These closures will remain in effect while hazardous fuels are removed from the National Forest boundary with private property.
While no fire restrictions are in place currently in Grand County, forest visitors should be extremely careful because it is dry everywhere. Never leave campfires unattended and make sure they are "dead out" before heading home.