The U.S. Forest Service in north Idaho is asking drivers to use caution when accessing National Forest System lands during winter weather. Roads are likely impacted by heavy snow or ice, with obstacles like boulders or down trees possible. Expect longer wait times for rescue and recovery services.
Additionally, drivers in the Coeur d’Alene area should know that the road to Fernan Hill will not be plowed this year as it has been previously.
Most roads across the Idaho Panhandle National Forests are not maintained or plowed during winter. Late season hunters, snowmobilers, and those in search of firewood or Christmas trees are some of the people that frequently use forest roads during inclement weather. The Forest Service reminds drivers to always check the weather before heading out into the forest and be sure your vehicle is appropriately equipped for winter driving.
Visitors to the popular Fernan Saddle area just east of Coeur d’Alene and Interstate 90 on Forest Service Road 268 will notice the road is not plowed this year as it has been previously. Starting this year, the Kootenai County Snowgroomer program is no longer able to provide snow removal services on Fernan Hill Road due to limited resources and personnel.
The U.S. Forest Service offers these tips for winter driving and reminds visitors to check Idaho Department of Transportation’s 511 road conditions before each trip.
To learn more about the Kootenai County Snowgroomer program, visit https://www.kcgov.us/952/Snowgroomer
For specific questions about forest road conditions and access, be sure to contact the local ranger district office for the area you plan to visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ipnf/about-forest/offices
For avalanche forecasts and other weather-related information affecting the national forest, visit the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center website at https://www.idahopanhandleavalanche.org/