ANF recreation facility openings challenged by storms, flooding

The timing of the flooding earlier this week has had some impact on the re-opening of some Allegheny National Forest recreational facilities.

Kathy Mohney, executive secretary for the ANF, said Friday that rain totals ranging from three to five inches over a 36-hour period caused damage to some roads, particularly in the Marienville Ranger District in Elk County.

“They experienced high water over much of the district on Wednesday. The Clarion River peaked at 5.5 feet over flood stage Wednesday night. Several forest roads on this district were closed,” she said.

She said that the Marienville Ranger reported that most of the damage is concentrated south of Highway 66 and west of Highway 948, and is associated with Spring Creek, Bear Creek, Big Mill Creek, the Clarion River and smaller tributaries.

“The district did discover downed trees as a result of the storms, those identified have been cleared but we ask the public to use caution when in and around the forest this weekend, particularly in remote areas where damage may not have been reported yet.”

“It also had an impact on the reservoir,” she said. “All of the developed rec sites around the reservoir have been checked, some campsites remain covered in water but conditions do not prevent us from having the campgrounds open this week.

“The marina was already experiencing high water issues prior to Wednesday’s storms so they will open but will have limited operations due to the high water.”

In regard to the delay of opening ATV and horse trails, she said, “We are going to monitor the trails on a daily basis. Some folks that were scheduled for other things have been pulled off to see what they can find on the ground.”

She added that they would like to open trails for the Memorial Day weekend, but more information about damages was needed.

“This week is always one of our busiest weeks, if not the busiest week, in terms of our recreation staff as they prepare for the summer season, so coupled with the rainfall on Wednesday night we now have as many people as possible in the field,” she said.