Due to wet conditions and illegal off-road travel, roads on the north side of Happy Jack Highway have been temporarily closed on the Pole Mountain unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest between Laramie and Cheyenne.

Until conditions improve, the closures will prohibit wheeled motor vehicles, while still allowing non-motorized access for activities such as hiking, bicycling, hunting, skiing and rock climbing.

The temporary closures will begin at signed gates located along main entrances from Highway 210. Implementation of the closures took place this week, and will not affect access to private lands, Forest Service permit holders, or users of the Tie City and Happy Jack Recreation Areas.

It is the second consecutive year that the Laramie Ranger District has had to put closures in place. The decision to close these roads was not taken lightly and comes as a last resort after years of damage and ongoing attempts at public education. Combinations of wet conditions and illegal off-road travel have damaged roadbeds, as well as soil and vegetation resources, prompting the temporary closure of roads.

“Simply put, this decision was made to protect public resources during a fragile time of year,” said Laramie District Ranger Frank Romero. “These closures are not intended to unnecessarily shut off access to the National Forest.”

Road conditions will be evaluated by Forest personnel on a weekly basis and, as ground conditions warrant, closures will periodically be lifted.

Forest Service officials stress that even when roads begin to dry and reopen, users must stay on designated routes and may not travel off-road.

For more information about this closure contact the Laramie Ranger District at (307) 745-2300.