Storm damage repairs may affect summer tourism at national forests

California was hit hard this winter with a series of wet storms which caused damage to roads, trails and infrastructures at California's national forests.

In January, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency throughout counties in California to help respond and recover from the storms. The rain and storms continued and left a lot to repair.

Damage assessments are still in progress while the snow continues to melt, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

With the warm weather coming up, the forest agency created a map showing where road damage occurred to help people plan trips to national forests. El Dorado National Forest is showing significant damage, as well as areas in the Sierras.

"Tourism may be affected by storm damage as there are campgrounds and other recreation areas affected throughout the region." said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson J. Ray Mooney in an email to ABC10. "The Forest Service is prioritizing road repair projects to get necessary repairs done as soon as possible, however, it may be well into 2018 before all the damage can be repaired."

Damage repair for roads is estimated to cost $23 million across Tahoe, El Dorado, Stanislaus and the Sierra national forests, according to Mooney.

This estimate doesn't include the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit because they're still under snow. The state but there's no way of knowing the total damage while the snow is still melting, according to Mooney.

Additionally, the hot weather is a reminder that fire season is just around the corner. The storm repairs may cause some issues for firefighters.

"There may be access issues as the wildfire season picks up." Mooney said. "We are prioritizing road repair projects and hope to minimize the impact of road damage that could prevent firefighters from reaching potential fires."

However, the storm repairs will not affect the hiring of firefighters this season, according to Mooney.

If you're making plans to head out on a trip to a national forest this summer, make sure to contact your local Forest Service office to find out about road and trail closures in the area.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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