The same mudslides that blocked State Route 410 northwest of Yakima last week have also resulted in the closure of eight miles of roads within the Oak Creek Wildlife Area, temporarily eliminating access to a popular hunting destination.
Stretches of Mud Lake Road and Garrett Canyon Road on the upper southern slopes of Cleman Mountain were both damaged by mudslides and remain closed, according to wildlife area manager Ross Huffman of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Mud Lake Road was already gated closed at its junction with S.R. 410, but the other end of the road near the radio tower atop Cleman Mountain was damaged by the same mudslide that covered the highway and resulted in its closure for three days.
Mud Lake Road and Garrett Canyon Road are the two ways hunters get to Sanford Pasture, a popular area for deer and elk hunters. Department of Natural Resources road crews are expected to clear the upper stretch of Mud Lake within the next couple of weeks, Huffman said, but the upper Garrett Canyon damage is enough that it isn’t likely to be reopened any time this year.
“There’s no way in or out to Sanford Pasture now,” Huffman said. “There will be one way in and out in a couple of weeks, off the top of Cleman Mountain — which is fine, but when we start getting into winter weather and snow, that road can get pretty hairy with all the switchbacks.”
Until then, recreationists can still reach many of the same areas by using a longer, more round-about route beginning with the Bald Mountain 1701 Road in the Wenatchee National Forest.