Forest Service closes roads due to storm damage

Cars drive into the White Mountain National Forest.

Cars drive into the White Mountain National Forest. Jim Cole/AP file photo

By TOM EASTMAN

The Conway Daily Sun

Published: 05-24-2024 12:00 PM

The U.S. Forest Service has announced that due to washout damage from a heavy rain event on Dec. 23, 2023, several popular roads throughout the White Mountain National Forest are closed.

According to public affairs specialist Colleen Mainville, the roads are located on the Androscoggin Ranger District and the Saco Ranger District.

They include Connor Brook Road in Shelburne, Wild River Road in Gilead, and segments of the Kilkenny Loop Road in Milan were all impacted by the storm and are closed to motorized vehicles. Crews will begin work at Kilkenny Loop Road the week of June 3. 

Connor Brook Road and Wild River Road sustained higher levels of damage and will remain closed until storm damage relief funding and equipment are received.  This may take several months. 

Wild River Campground will also remain closed until motorized access can be re-established.  

Sawyer River Road in Hart’s Location on the Saco also sustained significant damage and will be closed for at least this season.

Foot travel is still welcome on these roads but the USFS asks that visitors be mindful to not block gates for administrative access, as damage assessment surveys are still underway. They also ask all to report any additional road hazards if encountered to the Androscoggin District Office (603) 466-2713 or the Saco District Office (603) 447-5448.

Jim Innes, Saco District ranger, told the Sun On  Thursday that the Sawyer River Road has washed out at least three times previously — during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, Tropical Storm Philippe in October 2017 and the last December's storm.

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"We plan to put a new bridge in there to stop the problem, about a half-mile up from the Sawyer River Road juncture with U.S. Route 302 — but we do not have that federal money yet from the Federal Highway Administration so that is why the road will be closed to motorized traffic but it remains open for foot traffic and people who want to ride their bicycles," said Innes.