The following is a press release issued by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service:
Recent winter storms have brought an abundance of snow, ice and downed trees to Mendocino National Forest. Forest officials want visitors to be aware of winter weather conditions and hazards when traveling in the forest.
Some areas are seasonally closed, and many places can become dangerous with winter weather. Forest officials ask visitors to research destinations and double check the weather forecasts and road conditions before making a trip to the forest.
“Our first snow survey in 2022 measured an average 60 inches of snow depth near Anthony Peak Lookout. That amount of snow and the wind has had a significant impact on our trail system with downed trees and saturated soils as that snow melts,” said Upper Lake District Ranger Frank Aebly.
Each year staff from the Covelo Ranger Station conduct surveys as part of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys, which is funded by the California Department of Water Resources. Historical data from the Anthony Peak snow survey goes back to 1944 and is available on the California Department of Water Resources website.
Off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails can also close during wet weather, if precipitation reaches two inches within 24 hours or if soils become saturated.
OHV trail riders need to be aware that downed trees and snow will impact trail access, forest officials said.
“If you’re coming to the forest this weekend to enjoy the snow or ride the OHV trails, please be prepared and make safe decisions,” said Aebly. “Know your limits. Pack extra layers, waterproof clothing and safety equipment.”
Downed trees and icy roads and trails are not the only hazards to forest staff and the public.
Because much of the forest is in a burn scar, wet or windy weather can result in landslides, rockfall, erosion, debris flows and flooding. Visitors should prepare for alternative ways out in case roads become impassable.