The Forest Service today announced that Beardsley Road will remain closed through March 31, to provide for public safety during the period of seasonal, unsafe icy winter conditions. The road, located 32 miles east of Sonora on the Summit Ranger District, will be reopened for general public travel on April 1, provided weather and road surface conditions permit.
The closure is necessary because of limited staffing available to check the road for snow and ice on a daily basis. In the past, the Beardsley Road was closed following storms, and periodically re-opened, depending on road surface conditions. “This year, because of limited Forest Service staffing, we will be unable to make sure the road is safe for the public to drive on between winter storms,” said District Ranger Karen Caldwell.
The road is considered safe for public travel if there are two lanes open to allow vehicles to pass, and if the surface is completely free of snow and ice. Snowmelt on warmer winter days coats the road surface, and then freezes at night to create unsafe black ice conditions. Between storms, Tri-Dam Project employees plough open only a narrow access lane when necessary to conduct maintenance activities at their Beardsley Dam hydroelectric facility.
Caldwell pointed out that, although the small number of people dedicated to winter fishing may be prepared for severe icy conditions, the Forest Service needs to ensure safe driving conditions for all members of the general public. She emphasized the Beardsley Road seasonal closure is necessary to provide for public safety, to reduce the need for search and rescue operations, and to adequately manage the road with limited staffing this winter.
For further information regarding this road closure, members of the public may call Julie Martin, Public Service Program Manager at the Summit Ranger District (209) 965-3434 at extension 5311.