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Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Where floods did their most damage to trails, forest roads

Times Snohomish County bureau

The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest estimates last month's floods inflicted $8 million worth of damage to roads, trails, bridges and campgrounds. Restoration of damaged watershed areas could add $3 million to the repair bill.

Recreation sites that had survived previous 100-year floods were destroyed. For instance, the popular Kennedy Hot Springs, accessed off the Mountain Loop Highway, are buried beneath tons of rock and rubble. Historic cabins in the former Monte Cristo mining area were wrecked.

The Forest Service expects to discover much more trail damage after roads are repaired. Helicopter inspections of trails now inaccessible because of road closures have been hampered by foliage cover.

Damaged facilities include:

• Ten campgrounds in the Darrington Ranger District. Sulphur Creek campground lies along the Suiattle River, while the other nine are off the Mountain Loop Highway: Clear Creek, Bedal Creek, Beaver Creek, Red Bridge, Boardman, Gold Basin, Hemple Creek, Verlot and Turlo.

• Seven major trails: The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, where washed-out bridges between Red Pass and Miners Creek cut off access to 30 miles of trail; the White Chuck Trail, which leads to Kennedy Hot Springs and the Pacific Crest trail; and the Suiattle River, Milk Creek, Baker Lake, Elbow Lake and Park Butte trails.

• The Mountain Loop Highway is closed in two places just north of Barlow Pass, cutting off access to the Elliott Creek and Goat Lake trails.

White Chuck Road (Forest Service Road 23) suffered a major break 1.4 miles off the Mountain Loop Highway, cutting access to the Fire Mountain, Meadow Lake, Meadow Mountain and White Chuck Bench trails.

Suiattle River Road (Forest Service Road 26) is washed out at 14.5 miles, eliminating access to the Green Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, Downey Creek and Buck Creek trails. The Huckleberry Mountain Trail lies just beyond the break.

Monte Cristo Road, always closed to motorized vehicles, is damaged but passable for hikers who don't mind wetting their feet and navigating road slumps. The road leads to the Monte Cristo ghost town and popular hikes.

Information on road and trail closures: www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs or 360-436-1155.

Diane Brooks: 425-745-7802 or dbrooks@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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