Runoff washes out bridge to trail in wilderness area

NACHES -- Snowmelt from warm weather and rains have washed out a bridge on a Forest Service road to a popular trail into the Goat Rocks Wilderness area.

"The unexpected runoff washed away material from under the primary cement abutment, leaving one end of the bridge to appear dangling in the air," said Marge Hutchinson, an engineer with the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest.

"One side of the bridge is unsupported at this time, and with the creek still running high, additional damage is certainly a possibility. For that reason we've closed the road to everyone until we can look at options for repairing or replacing the bridge."

The Miriam Creek Bridge is 2.4 miles from the junction of the Tieton Road (No. 1200) on the North Fork Tieton Road (No. 1207) that leads to Scatter Creek Trailhead, a highly popular access point to the Goat Rocks Wilderness for hikers and stock users.

During winter months, the North Fork Tieton is used by cross-country skiers and snowshoers who hike the groomed trail that crosses the bridge.

Engineers will assess the damage over the next several weeks, looking for a solution and money for repairs.