The South Fork Forest Service Road closed until further notice. (Photos contributed)

South Fork Forest Service Road closed

To ensure public safety, it will be closed until further notice

The South Fork Forest Service Road, near Cherryville, is closed to all vehicle traffic until further notice.

The decision was made as a public safety precaution due to concerns about the stability of the roadbed and washouts, as well as damage to the Yeoward Creek Bridge.

Users should note that access to the Monashee trail system, backcountry areas, campsites and range tenures is restricted or unavailable, due to washouts at the 0.5- and 0.7-kilometre marks. Barricades have been set up at the 0.4-kilometre mark.

The washout at the 0.5-kilometre mark appears to have happened around May 9 with the washout at the 0.7-kilometre mark taking place around May 18. It is expected that damage to the bridge occurred on May 23. High snowpack levels, high groundwater levels and an extended warming trend, causing overland water flow and higher-than-normal stream flows, are thought to be the cause.

Regional District of North Okanagan Cherryville director Hank Cameron estimated 10,000 cubic metres of debris went down into the waters of Yeoward Creek, which flows into Monashee Creek (Monashee is also known as the south fork of Cherry Creek).

“The concern is, along with all of that material, there is a lot of wood,” said Cameron. “Somehow we’ve got green slash migrating down the stream and getting caught up, affecting the residential areas.”

Cameron told directors that crews would be extrapolating roughly 10 loads of timber from the creek.

“This is going to be an ongoing situation. It’s already affected the flow of the creek downstream,” said Cameron, who motioned directors to have RDNO write a letter to the ministry (Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development), requesting all geotechnical reports and what their plans are to restore access in that area. Cameron’s motion was unanimously supported.

The ministry is working with industrial users and tenure holders to assess and repair the road damage, and to restore access. The construction timeline has not yet been determined.

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The decision was made due to concerns about the stability of the road bed and washouts and damage to the Yeoward Creek Bridge. (Photo contributed)

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