SANTA FE ― The popular Holy Ghost Canyon on the east side of the Santa Fe National Forest will be open to recreationists over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Forest expects to implement a closure order to protect public health and safety during the reconstruction of Forest Road (FR) 122, also known as Holy Ghost Road.
FR 122 was severely damaged by flooding after the 2013 Tres Lagunas Fire.
The restricted area includes land within 500 yards on either side of FR 122 as well as recreation residences, the Holy Ghost campground and group site, and the trailhead accessed from FR 122.
The closure order will be in effect until Dec. 31, but may be rescinded earlier if the area is determined to be safe for the public.
In September 2013, flooding caused by heavy rainfall on the Tres Lagunas burn scar damaged Holy Ghost Road and several bridges in the canyon.
The Forest Service made emergency repairs at the time to stabilize the area and began planning for long-term reconstruction.
The Santa Fe National Forest applied for funding and engineering services under the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Road (ERFO) program administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).
In addition to construction crews and FHA personnel, others who are exempt from the closure order include Federal, state and local officers, members of an organized rescue team or firefighting force, landowners who need to cross National Forest System land to access their private property, and any others authorized by valid contract or operating plan.
Gates will be locked, and signs will be posted in the closure area. Forest personnel will enforce the closure. Violations are punishable as a Class B misdemeanor.
The closure order will be in compliance with federal regulations that allow closures for the protection of resources and public health and safety.
Copies of the closure order and maps will be available at the Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters and the Pecos/Las Vegas District Offices.