Montrose County and the USDA Forest Service Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests officially opened 90 Road (National Forest System Road #540) and Divide Road (NSFR #402) for the summer and fall recreation seasons. Crews have been working to remove the snow over the past few weeks, and allowed time for the road to dry to mitigate road damage.
"This is welcome news," said Commissioner Sue Hansen. "Unfortunately our snow pack was not nearly to the level of last year, but the early opening is great news for summer recreation. We live in the most beautiful part of the state and I’m grateful that some of our seasonally-limited public lands are now accessible. It’s a great time to fish, explore, hike, and camp on the Uncompahgre Plateau."
"Conditions are dryer than last year, which made opening up the high country roads easier to do ahead of schedule," said Road and Bridge Superintendent Brandon Wallace. "West End Superintendent Bo Andrews and his crew have secured the historic slide area on 90 Road and will continue to keep an eye on conditions moving forward. Please continue to use caution when traveling high country roads during or after precipitation."
At this time, all major roads are open across the Uncompahgre Plateau to include 90 Road, Dave Wood Road, Divide Road, Transfer Road, and 25 Mesa Road in Montrose County. There is still snow at the top of the plateau and several side trails are not accessible. Please be advised that dispersed camping options are limited at higher elevations as snow is still present. The Forest Service and county encourages residents and visitors to "know before you go" and make sure to check conditions, be aware of fire restrictions (westslopefireinfo.com), and practice leave no trace when recreating on public lands. The roads are drying out, but the public is encouraged to seek alternate routes if there are large amounts of rain. Travel on muddy roads not only increases the chances of getting a vehicle stuck, but it is also damaging to the road itself. For more information about the GMUG including camping information, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/gmug.