HAMILTON, Mont. - The following press release was sent out by the Bitterroot National Forest.
The West Fork Ranger District on the Bitterroot National Forest has announced that a section of the Magruder Corridor Road in Idaho is closed due to multiple washouts from high water. The washouts occurred yesterday as strong thunderstorms with heavy rains passed over the area. Three mudslides are currently blocking a two-mile stretch of the road making it impassable.
The washouts are located between Scimitar Creek and the CCC Camp, approximately 7 miles west of Nez Perce Pass and 4 miles east of the historic Magruder Ranger Station. This is the same area of last summer's Gold Pan Complex fires that burned more than 40,000 acres in the Frank Church and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The fires left burn scars on steep slopes with sparse vegetation that contributed to yesterday's slides.
The largest debris flow is located at Scimitar Creek where mud, rocks, and large trees from the slide took out a section of the road. To see the latest photos visit www.facebook.com/DiscoverTheBitterroot
Forest officials plan to clear the slides and repair the road as soon as possible. Heavy equipment will have to be brought in and it will likely take road crews several days just to clear all the debris off Magruder Road.
The 101-mile primitive road corridor between Darby (Montana) and Elk City (Idaho), was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. It allows motorists to drive between the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness Areas. The one-lane road is rough, steep and winding, with few turnouts for passing oncoming vehicles, and is suitable for high-clearance vehicles only. The road winds through vast undeveloped areas offering solitude and pristine beauty, but no services for nearly 120 miles.