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Officials: Please Steer Clear of Mountain Loop

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Mar 27, 2014 05:03 PM |
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As response efforts at the devastating mudslide on Highway 530 continue, Snohomish County and U.S. Forest Service officials are urging people to stay clear of the area.

As response efforts at the tragic mudslide between Oso and Darrington on Highway 530 enter a sixth day, officials from Snohomish County and the U.S. Forest Service are asking people to stay clear of the area.

Road for responders and residents

On Wednesday crews opened the Mountain Loop Highway through Barlow Pass for emergency and local access. The general public, however, is asked to avoid this route.

“We strongly discourage recreationists and those curious about the slide and recovery activities to avoid the area for safety reasons and to respect the intent of opening this route early, which is to provide alternate access to the community of Darrington," said Peter Forbes, Darrington District Ranger.

Some local area trails closed, others best to avoid for now

He added that recreation sites in this area are remaining closed and inaccessible, including the Big Four Ice Caves area, which is closed due to extreme avalanche conditions at this time of year.

It's probably best to also avoid other nearby trails like Lake 22, Mount Pilchuck and Heather Lake to keep roads and resources free for responders and residents.

Washington Trails Association extends our thoughts and hopes to these communities, along with our support and gratitude to the many first responders. Many of us here have close friends in Darrington, and this is one of our favorite areas to spend time. When the time is right, we will let you know when it is appropriate for all of you to hike in this special place and support the businesses here again.

In the meantime, we ask you to please let the response effort continue and the residents to begin the healing process.

How you can help from afar

The community of Darrington is currently inundated with rescue personnel, volunteers and media, and is not physically or emotionally equipped for any other visitors or volunteers at this time.

If you wish to help, donations of cash are most welcome:

  • American Red Cross workers have been providing food and shelter to residents, families looking for loved ones and first responders affected by the slide. People can call 800-733-2767 to donate or text "RedCross" to 90999 and $10 will be charged to your phone bill.
  • Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team, an all-volunteer nonprofit search and rescue organization that rescues injured and lost hikers throughout the year has been active in the efforts (and recently had their federal funding cut). Consider making a donation here.
  • The Snohomish County website also has a list of other local organizations accepting donations.
  • A note of caution when donating: be wary of scams and verify the charitable organization you are giving to.