Forest Service Road 317, commonly known as Coolwater Road, has been reopened and is now accessible for hunting season and outdoor recreational opportunities.

The Forest Service has rescinded the closure order on Coolwater Road, a popular access route on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests’ Moose Creek Ranger District, that was put in place this May due to rock slides and for ongoing timber harvest in support of a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fuels reduction project near the community of Lowell. The road had been closed for approximately three miles up from the gate near the junction with the Selway River Road.

“This is an important road for hunters, hikers, and sightseers that leads up to the scenic Coolwater Ridge,” said Moose Creek District Ranger Ron Tipton. “It’s very important recreationally and for hunters.”

Tipton said the Forest Service closed the road for public safety in early May after a rock slide made it impassable.

Heavy equipment used in timber harvest operations for the Lowell WUI project, he said, was able to clear the slide. However, the road then had to remain closed for public safety during timber harvest associated with the same project.

“Weather–related rock slides have caused closures that prolonged logging operations for the Lowell WUI project,” Tipton explained. “The project was expected to last one to two years, but Mother Nature has twice hit the reset button. Our hope is to resume timber harvest when conditions permit next year and complete the project sometime next fall.” 

Coolwater Road 317 is subject to a seasonal closure which normally begins the first week of November. The Forest Service will inform the public about closure dates for the coming winter.