Heavy, wet snow over the past week has prompted the Laramie Ranger District to temporarily close most roads on the south side of Wyoming Highway 210, also called Happy Jack Highway. The affected routes are on the Pole Mountain unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest between Laramie and Cheyenne.

The closures on the southern half of Pole Mountain were implemented on Tuesday, April 21. As a whole, temporary closures now affect the entire Pole Mountain unit, but will not affect access to private lands, Forest Service permit holders, the Tie City and Happy Jack Recreation Areas, or the Vedauwoo Day-Use Area.

Roads on the north side of Highway 210 were closed last month due to wet conditions and illegal off-road travel. Those roads remain temporarily closed as consistent spring moisture has prevented them from sufficiently drying out enough to reopen.

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

Most closures begin at signed gates located along main entrances from Happy Jack Highway and Interstate 80.

“We were getting close to opening the roads on the northern half of Pole Mountain and now this recent storm has really made all roads on the unit inaccessible, saturated and very muddy,” said Laramie District Ranger Frank Romero. “Just as soon as things melt off and dry out we will reopen roads where we can.”

The U.S. Forest Service says 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.

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

Public education on protecting roadbeds and natural resources remains a vital component of access and travel management on Pole Mountain.