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Forest thinning to create temporary closures to Keyhole Sink and Oak Hill area Sept. 27-29

Oak Hills Snow Play area is located east of Parks and provides sledding/snowtubing  opportunities for locals and tourists. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Oak Hills Snow Play area is located east of Parks and provides sledding/snowtubing opportunities for locals and tourists. Ryan Williams/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. – Forest thinning on the Parks West Project will take place around the Keyhole Sink Trail, located west of Parks, Arizona off Old Route 66 Sept. 27-29.

Heavy equipment will be felling trees and hauling material near the trail on both sides.

The Oak Hill Snow Play Area parking lot, which is used by those accessing the Keyhole Sink Trail, is identified as a potential staging area for equipment and will therefore be closed for public safety during this time.

“This is a very popular location, especially on weekends, and it’s important to us that we minimize impacts to visitors as much as we can while providing for public and crew safety,” said Debra Mollet, Williams and Tusayan Districts Ranger. “We’ve been working closely with the contractor on the timing of this portion of the project. By design, operations in the Keyhole Sink area will take place early in the week and will be completed in as few days as possible.”

The parking lot and Keyhole Sink area are expected to be accessible again Sept. 30. However, visitors are urged to use good judgement when in the vicinity of any thinning project. Don’t play on the log decks or staged equipment, don’t approach active machinery and be mindful of log trucks using forest roads.

The district currently has several mechanical thinning projects around Williams and Parks where there are, or will be, active operations as conditions allow over the coming months.

Thinning treatments restore the forest to historic, healthier conditions and reduce the risk of uncharacteristically severe fire. Priority projects are strategically located near communities and key watersheds – areas where resilient forests and defensible space are most critical. This means the public is likely to notice indicators of progress such as paint markings on trees, active cutting, woodchippers and grinders, log decks, slash piles, and log trucks. Closures of this sort are not common but, at times, may be necessary for public safety. The Forest Service will make every effort to ensure any closure is as focused and short-term as possible.

For current conditions and additional information, contact the Williams Ranger District at 928-635-5600, visit us online at www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab, and follow @KaibabNF on Twitter and Facebook.

Information provided by Kaibab National Forest

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