Nearly all forest roads repaired to ‘passable’ condition

Employees of the Southern Ute Construction Services Division blade the road at the base of Swede Canyon to make it passable for tribal members during hunting season. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is usually charged with maintaining these roads, but the federal government shutdown had restricted its ability to work.
courtesy Mel Baker/SU Tribal Housing


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Nearly all of the forest roads on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation damaged by heavy fall rains have been made passable and are reopened.

Operating under a plan by the Reservation Forest Roads Team, the Construction Services Division has done most of the physical work on the roads, with guidance from the Forestry Division, said Brian Gideon, division head.

The only section that remains closed is at the top of Seguro Canyon Road, Gideon said. The plan does not call for reopening the road this year, he said.

“It’s pretty much unusable,” he said.

In late September, the team assessed all forest roads and categorized them as passable, closed, or passable only with a 4×4 vehicle. As of Monday, Oct. 21, all roads but Seguro Canyon were considered passable.

Original plans had called for the cooperation of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in repairing the roads, but the federal government shutdown furloughed most employees of the Southern Ute Agency. Those employees returned to work Thursday, Oct. 17 following a deal struck in Congress to reopen.

Gideon cautioned that while conditions on many roads have improved since Construction Services began work on Monday, Oct. 7, the types of repairs being made are primarily short-term – a “Band-Aid” – and many roads will eventually require more expensive and time-consuming long-term repairs.

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