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Sat, May 30

Snowbowl Road closed to motorized vehicles

Snowbowl Road will be closed indefinitely to motorized vehicles to protect public and employee health, as well as align with state and local measures already in place to lessen the impact of COVID-19. (Photo/Coconino National Forest)

Snowbowl Road will be closed indefinitely to motorized vehicles to protect public and employee health, as well as align with state and local measures already in place to lessen the impact of COVID-19. (Photo/Coconino National Forest)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Snowbowl Road (Forest Road 516) will be closed indefinitely to motorized vehicles to protect public and employee health, as well as align with state and local measures already in place to lessen the impact of COVID-19.

This decision was made in conjunction with local law enforcement to ensure the public recreate responsibly by avoiding high-risk activities, such as downhill and backcountry skiing. These activities increase the chance of injury or distress, resulting in direct effects on local law enforcement, search and rescue operations, and critical medical resources. These types of resources are already limited across the country due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 health and safety measures were implemented at Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort last week, closing the resort for the season. As a result, there are no services or ski patrol on the mountain. Normally, medical emergencies within the Arizona Snowbowl permitted area are handled by ski patrol when the area is open. Emergencies that occur both in and around the area will now require the response of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and their Search and Rescue Unit (SAR)—which is responsible for response throughout the entire county.

SAR relies on dedicated volunteers to carry out search and rescue operations. Some of those volunteers are also healthcare workers and may not be available due to the COVID-19. Additionally, some are in a higher-risk category based upon their age.

Snowbowl Road is closed with a gate one mile north of U.S. Highway 180, and motorized vehicles are prohibited beyond that point. Bicycle and pedestrian access is permitted, but users should be aware that the ski area is completely closed 7 miles up Snowbowl Road and should expect to encounter administrative motor vehicle use including logging and ski area equipment.

Most of the forest is open for visitors who want to spend time outdoors. Recreation opportunities that support social distancing, such as hiking, biking, wildlife viewing and dispersed camping, remain available. The Coconino National Forest asks members of the public to recreate responsibly by avoiding high-risk activities that could increase the chance of injury or distress.

Information provided by Coconino National Forest

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