Canyonlands NP road closings

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yuccahead
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Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by yuccahead » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:38 am

I just thought I'd post this in case anyone has plans this fall to travel the backcountry roads in the Island in the Sky or the Needles District. There are a lot of closures, for indefinite periods of time, due to some severe weather in recent weeks.
Check this link-
http://www.nps.gov/cany/news082410.htm

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by SteveS » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:40 am

Thanks, but that’s a bummer to read. I always marvel about the people who built that road in the first place. Some of the dugways early miners build are impressive.

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by lara » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:04 pm

"indefinite time" always has an ominous tone to it. in other words NPS can close another back country road with no public scrutiny. sorry, i am cynic when it comes to road closures in the desert.

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by yuccahead » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:47 am

lara wrote:"indefinite time" always has an ominous tone to it. in other words NPS can close another back country road with no public scrutiny. sorry, i am cynic when it comes to road closures in the desert.

lara
There hasn't been any opposition yet. BTW, did you look at the photos?
http://www.nps.gov/cany/loader.cfm?csMo ... eID=502582

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by MMM » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:36 pm

With the budgets for parks being cut as they are, do not expect the road to be repaired any time soon. In the "old" days the park would simply go out and buldoze the road back in fine shape. But today just about any project, including repair of roads, needs to go through a extensive and expensive process. This can include a NEPA assesment, various environmetal studies and impact reports, potential mitigations and of course everything is subject to legal action by those who would stop the repairs from going forth. The wash outs are big, but sometimes the politics are bigger.

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:02 pm

Boy isn't that the truth, Mike. The government will probably have to study this for years instead of just dozing some dirt in to the washed-out areas and grading it off. You government at work, that's why they know what's best for you.

Greg (aka - Plays In The Dirt)

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by yuccahead » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:15 am

MMM wrote:With the budgets for parks being cut as they are, do not expect the road to be repaired any time soon. In the "old" days the park would simply go out and buldoze the road back in fine shape. But today just about any project, including repair of roads, needs to go through a extensive and expensive process. This can include a NEPA assesment, various environmetal studies and impact reports, potential mitigations and of course everything is subject to legal action by those who would stop the repairs from going forth. The wash outs are big, but sometimes the politics are bigger.

Mike
Really? This looks like a simple bulldoze job to you? Nature has cut a new water channel, filling it in will only last until the next big storm. They'll have to install metal culverts and huge amounts of rock and boulder for retaining walls then they'll be able to safely repair the road.
To make decision making even worse, these switchbacks are not in the NP, but it accesses the 100 mile loop of the White Rim Trail that is heavily used by 4WD and mtn. bike tours with their support vehicles. It's also the only access to the Mineral Bottom boat ramp to launch river trips through Canyonlands NP. The decision on how to best repair this road will be a combined effort of the NPS, the BLM and probably county officials as well.
The failure of this road has caused huge financial losses to local outfitters as well as the NPS. Everyone involved wants it repaired ASAP but future safety issues will be a priority.

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by MMM » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:39 am

I agree with you Yuccahead, this is a huge wash out. But I have seen worse and they were fixed with some work. I remember going up a jeep road on the side of a mountain (painted gorge) where the road came up out of the gorge. There was a major washout about 30 feet long and 12 feet deep. Completely washed out the road and people who drove to it just backed up down the road and left. I was with a group of 5 people and we gathered rocks and such and rebuilt the road by hand. Took about 6 hours and when we were done the road, all be it narrow, was passable. That was in 1990 and the road fix is still there. With the large earth moving equipment we have today and dump trucks, that road could be fixed really quickly. It appears that there were no retaining walls before the washout out, and the road was ok. To make it "safe" would require actions I beleive may not have been there to begin with, although I may be mistaken on this. Bottom line. I hope the way comes to fix this mess.

Mike

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by Paul » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:50 pm

Now THAT is a washout. Scale can be deceptive, but just eyeballing from the size of the people in the pic, it looks like about 85 feet across by at least 50 deep (can't really see how far down the slope it goes). Gonna take more than rock-stacking. It needs a retaining wall to rebuild the slope, which means some excavating to find something solid to anchor it on.

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Re: Canyonlands NP road closings

Post by MMM » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:34 am

I am not a road building expert, so what follows is from my own insight and may or may not reflect the reality of the subject. In other words, this is my opinion and may be totaly left field. :o

The road bed appears to be made up of materials created by the blasting of the cliff face and then used as fill to create the road. This material is very instable and becasue it is fill, very subject to flood damage. Notice the base rock shows really very little flood damage, just the overburden placed on it by the road building process. Kind of like blow it, push it, fill it road work. If you want a road that is highly resistant to sudden and high volume water flows (a hundred year flood or worse) the cost will be out of reach. To return the road to what it was before, while a lot less expensive, would be subject to the same wash out potntial it had before. But how long was the road in place with no problems before this happened? It may be enough to do the fill and grade again, but then again maybe not. Again I am no expert and admit it. To find a way between the high priced road re-build (placing heavy rebar and tie rods into the base rock, retaining walls a lot of cement and rock work) and the lesser priced fill method is the goal. The worst idea, in my humble opinion, would be to do nothing and simply close the road. But at the very least, threads like this one keep people talking.

Mike

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