Three West Virginia Forest Service Roads Remain Closed Due to Flood Damage and Repair Work


According to a press release dated September 1st from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, three seasonally-opened roads on the Marlinton and White Sulphur Ranger District did not open as scheduled on September 1st due to June 2016 flood damage and repair work.

Specifically, Forest Road 24, also known as Gauley Mountain Road, remains closed from the gate just north of Sharp Knob to the end of the road on Gauley Mountain. Contractors are replacing culverts, repairing slope failures and resurfacing the road. Forest Road 24 should open in early October 2017.

Forest Road 461, also known as Purple Rhododendron Road, remains closed between the Highland Scenic Highway and Williams River Road. There is an unsafe crossing over a flood-damaged culvert that must be replaced. It is unlikely that this road will open this fall.

The Forest Road 719 complex, or Buskirk and Sulphur Lick Roads, remain closed at State Route 92 to the end of these roads on Brushy Mountain. These roads are impassible due to a heavily-damaged bridge and fill-slope failures, where the road is sliding off the hillside. The Forest Service has partnered with the Federal Highways Administration, Eastern Federal Lands to complete this work as quickly as possible, but the damage is severe. It is unlikely that these roads will open for several years.

In the press release, the Marlinton and White Sulphur District Ranger, Cynthia Sandeno, says, “We regret not being able to open these roads as scheduled; however, they received extensive damage during last year’s flooding event.  We are working to repair unstable crossings, replace culverts, and complete additional road reconditioning work to ensure safe passage for our forest visitors.”

For more information, Flood Restoration Program Manager, Angela Parrish, can be reached at 304-799-4334 extension 16 or


Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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