The Santa Fe National Forest announced Friday (Sept. 1) it is extending the closure of a segment of the Continental Divide Trail on the Coyote Ranger District out of concerns for public safety.
The restricted area includes Continental Divide Trail (CDT) No. 813 from the Ojitos Trailhead at Skull Bridge on the Chama River to the CDT crossing at State Road 96, known locally as Ojitos Trail No. 298.
Hikers on the CDT should plan a reroute around this trail section, as potentially hazardous conditions may exist, according to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service.
The temporary closure will remain in effect until Dec. 31 unless it is rescinded earlier.
On July 7, lightning struck a tree in the 90,000-acre "Río Chama block," a section of the forest that had been cleared for restoration work through an extensive federal review. Since that time, forest managers and wildland firefighters have been using the blaze to eliminate hazardous branches, trees and natural debris on the forest floor.
While the fire is no longer in the Ojitos Trail area, crews still need to make sure the area is free of safety hazards, including snags, which are standing dead or dying trees that can fall without warning, before reopening this segment of the trail.
Under the closure order, all people except authorized personnel and partners are prohibited from entering and being on the closed section of the trail.