Popular 4WD route destroyed by large rockslide
By Adam Broderick
The U.S. Forest Service dispatched a crew on a reconnaissance mission on Schofield Pass on Wednesday. A few weeks ago a major rockslide came crashing down on Forest Service Road No. 314, which passes by Devil’s Punchbowl. “It’s not just rock fall. It actually took out some portions of the road,” said Gunnison County public works director Marlene Crosby.
As of the morning of Wednesday, May 6, it was still unknown how the slide debris would affect travel and recreation in the area this summer and in the future. Crosby told the Crested Butte News that someone from the Forest Service was heading up to check out the damage on Wednesday afternoon.
On April 30 the Aspen Daily News ran a story that referenced the slide, which most people on either side of Schofield Pass were unaware of due to the isolated location and snow still restricting travel in the area. Tays Anderson of Glenwood Springs took his four-wheeler up the road last week and then reported the slide. He said he spends a lot of time up near Schofield Pass and reported the slide was about 150 yards wide, the largest he has ever seen in the area.
As reported in the Daily, “One of the holes in the road is roughly 15 feet wide, 9 feet long, and around 4 feet deep. Some boulders on the road are around 5 feet in diameter, and others, larger than vehicles, lay just off the road. Scores of mature pine and spruce trees were splintered like matchsticks.”
The road was still open to the slide as of Wednesday morning, but Anderson said large chunks of the road were missing and he didn’t think a four-wheeler, or even a dirt bike, could get past. Crosby says that how to deal with the road damage would be up to the Forest Service, but Forest Supervisor John Murphy said that since nobody from the Gunnison Ranger District had been up there yet, they didn’t know anything other than what they had read in the newspaper. Murphy wasn’t even sure if it occurred in the Gunnison National Forest or the White River National Forest. “It may not even be something that the Gunnison Ranger District will be involved with,” he said.