[Cdt-l] Fwd: Gila Wilderness Opened or Closed?

ks1007 at aol.com ks1007 at aol.com
Thu Jan 16 18:57:04 CST 2014

contact the wilderness ranger district part of gila national for trail questions

Deming, NM

-----Original Message-----
From: Teresa Martinez <tamartinez2003 at gmail.com>
To: Shian Sung <shian.sung at gmail.com>
Cc: cdt-l <cdt-l at backcountry.net>
Sent: Thu, Jan 16, 2014 4:43 pm
Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] Gila Wilderness Opened or Closed?

Hi everyone-

This was the press release from the Gila National Forest today regarding the Catwalk section in the area in question. While not addressing the  various routes specifically, this may help with some understanding of the area in question. Second - I encourage specific questions be sent to the Glenwood Ranger District, for at least the official status of trails in the area, so closure orders, if in place, are not violated if you choose this route.

Hope this helps.

Teresa Martinez

Repairs Underway at Catwalk
Glenwood, NM; January17, 2014—Following assessments of flood damage to the popular CatwalkNational Recreation Trail this fall, U.S. Forest Service personnel have beenworking with N.M. Department of Transportation personnel to improve roadconditions along N.M. Highway 174. These improvements have now allowed ForestService equipment to access the Catwalk, where additional work is scheduled.  
“Damage to the parking lot, picnic area, and trail system isextensive. Work will be completed in phases, beginning with a short term planto provide access to the picnic areas and approximately ½ mile of the oldertrail along the northwest side of Whitewater Creek, ” District Ranger DebbieCress said. She adds that the Forest Service hopes to reopen a portion of theCatwalk by April, and intends to work with community members and interestedagencies throughout upcoming months to develop a long term plan for theCatwalk. Community members can expect opportunties to participate in public meetingsand open house forums to provide their input.
Short term efforts to restore the Catwalk area include:
Channel work to return     Whitewater Creek flows to the upper low water crossing. Currently, water     is diverted to the southeast and running along a portion of the highway.
Clearing sediment, logs,     and other debris away from picnic tables.  
Clearing landslides and     stabilizing handrails along the old trail in to the steps constructed by     the Civilian Conservation Corps. 
Removing metal debris from     the picnic area and channel.
Interpretive signing. 

“I understand the community’s concerns about reopening thispopular site as soon as possible,” adds Ranger Cress. “My concern is ensuringthe picnic area and trail are safe for the public’s enjoyment. Planning ourwork in phases will allow people to come and enjoy the area again as quickly aspossible, while providing the community an opportunity to participate increating a long term plan to continue the tradition of the Catwalk.” Pleasecontact the Glenwood Ranger District office for further information,575.539.2481. 

On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:29 AM, Shian Sung <shian.sung at gmail.com> wrote:

I was hiking with Tom Holz (AKA Bigfoot) and we took the high-water route from Snow Lake to Doc's exactly as Jerry describes. This was on the advice of locals in Pie Town who had been down to check it out as well as the ranger's office for the Gila Wilderness. When we crossed over at the Meadows it did not look terrible, just slow going. If I had to do it again I might have just gone for it, especially after I read an account from another SOBO who went through maybe 1-2 weeks after we did:


He averaged around 10 miles a day (down from probably what was a high-20's to low-30's daily pace) through that section, so it was slow going but sounded very rewarding.

We completely bypassed the southern section of Middle Fork south of Doc Campbell's after doing a lot of research (rangers who were being honest with us, other hikers, forest service trail crews) that said that while the stretch from Snow Lake to Doc's was doable, the section south of there had portions that were not only nearly impassable but also dangerous, with logs stacked on top of each other (a lot of the trees that get swept down the Gila end up getting jammed up in that section).

There will be some northbounders next season who slog through that soon and we'll know what exactly it looks like - I don't know any other sobos from 2013 who did the southern Gila section - maybe Huck or one of the people in the front of the pack.

-Shian (Barrel Roll)

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