Dear members of the Western States Trail community,
Over the past several days, excellent progress has been made in containing the American Fire. It is important to note that although the fire is now contained, it is still actively burning and the Forest Service is now in the process of identifying areas in need of repair. The Forest Service has cited falling hazard trees and repairing control lines with heavy equipment as areas that need to be addressed quickly. Because of this work, the fire area will remain closed until it is deemed safe for the public. The Western States Trail is closed between Michigan Bluff and Robinson Flat. The closed area includes the area where two bridges were damaged but are still standing. We are including two photos of the bridges to show you the current state of the bridges that have been damaged. The Forest Service has assured us that as soon as safety permits, qualified personnel will inspect the bridges to determine their foundational integrity and identify repairs needed before the public can safely use these structures.
Both of our organizations wish to counsel you to be patient as this process proceeds and to please follow the safety instructions that the Forest Service has issued to the public. There are still many hot or unsafe areas that qualified personnel are still showing great caution, including the canyons where the damaged bridges are located. Again, we have been assured by the Forest Service that once these areas can be safely accessed, fire repair personnel will evaluate all hazards necessary for the trail and bridge repairs to take place. We have also been assured that when these inspections take place, the Forest Service will share their findings with the public. We promise you that our organizations will actively be involved in discussing the next steps of repair and rehabilitation with the Forest Service.
The Western States Trail has been subjected to a severe trauma over the past several weeks. We are confident, however, that in working with the Forest Service, we can, as a community, help the Trail continue to be the great resources it has been for so long for so many. There will be opportunity to help the Trail regain its beauty and integrity soon; for the time being, however, we must continue to respect the Forest Service’s instructions regarding closed access and the safety of the public. As conditions change and new information is gathered, we will share it with you via our website and our social media channels.
Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run Foundation
Western States Trail Foundation