Severe damage results in extension of Dog Lake Road closure

View of the damage recently on Forest Road 4017 from the uphill side, approximately a half mile before Dog Lake.  Conditions on the road continue to deteriorate daily as part of an ongoing landslide.

Closure of Forest Road 4017, commonly known as Dog Lake Road on the Lakeview Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest, has been extended indefinitely due to a large slide and soil instability in the area, making the road impassible.

The closure starts approximately 8.6 miles from the Fremont-Winema National Forest entry sign and 3.7 miles from the end of the county road, between Forest Service Roads 4017.101 and 4020.401.

“We were optimistic that with a significant drying period we would be able to repair the road quickly,” said Lakeview District Ranger Dave Brillenz.  “However, after a visit from regional Forest Service geologists, we realized the problem is much larger than the damaged section of road, as it involves the hillside above and below the road.  Given the severity of the erosion, soil condition and slide, it will be longer than we initially expected before we can begin temporary repairs and pursue a permanent solution.”

Geologists found the road damage is part of a larger long term landslide in the area accelerated by wet conditions and saturated soils this year.  While the slide is actively moving on the ridge, with large cracks in the soil, it is moving faster at the road with what appears to be historic levels of saturation.

“Even with a several months of dry weather, we need to wait until there are indications that the slide activity has slowed or stopped before we can start to fill and grade the area in order to provide a temporary solution,” Brillenz said.

In the meantime, Forest Service Road 3940, also known as the Dent Creek Road, is open, serving as a detour to access Dog Lake and the surrounding areas of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.  Road crews have worked to make sure the road is passable. 

Dent Creek Road can be accessed from State Hwy 140 north of Drews Reservoir.

As the weather warms up, Forest Service Road 4020.401 should also be open.

While the weather is improving, visitors using these roads should be prepared for changing conditions and that weather may make these roads impassable.

Forest employees recognize the importance of Dog Lake Road for not only visitors enjoying Dog Lake, but also for private landowners who need to access their property.

“We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding as we work on this situation,” Brillenz said.  “Repairing Dog Lake Road and ensuring that it is safe for public travel is among our top priorities.  We are also working to secure additional funding for the repairs.  Currently, our engineers are developing designs and plans for both temporary and more permanent repairs.”

There is a formal closure order in place, referenced as Order Number 06-02-02-17-01-01, which is in place until further notice.

Violations of the closure order are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of not more than 6 months or both.

For more information on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema.

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