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Backcountry roads closed for winter

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - Starting Thursday, a number of Bonneville County backcountry and forest roads will be closed for the winter season.

These road closures happen every year by order of the Bonneville County Commissioners as winter conditions make it impractical and dangerous to maintain. 

Several of these roads are part of a groomed trail system maintained by Bonneville County Parks and Recreation and will be open for snowmobiles and tracked vehicles only. 

Bonneville County Road and Bridge staff put forth a considerable amount of time and resources to maintain our back country roads. Late fall and early spring, back country roads are particularly difficult to maintain when the ground and road base is soft. It’s this time of year when sheriff’s deputies encounter motorists who drive beyond passable road conditions, get stuck in areas with limited cell service, and are not prepared for cold weather conditions. Aside from the dangers of being unprepared to survive extreme weather conditions, retrieval of vehicles from these areas can be very costly and cause extensive damage to the road base and adjacent private property. Damage that requires more time and resources from Road and Bridge to reopen these areas in the spring. 

Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies ask motorists adhere to these road closures and avoid driving beyond road closed signs and gates. Just because there are tracks beyond road closed signs does not mean the road is open or safe to travel on. Private property owners who wish to have access to their property beyond the posted road closed signs and gates can apply for a permit at the Road and Bridge Offices at 2700 Manwill Rd. in Idaho Falls. Applications for those permits are approved through the Bonneville County Commissioners. Motorists who do not have a permit and proceed into these closed areas with their vehicle are subject to criminal charges and potential liability for damage to roads or private property. 

As always, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone to respect private property and road restrictions, whether you are driving a vehicle or snowmobile. Take the time to prepare for emergencies, monitor weather conditions, and always tell loved ones where you are going and what time you expect to return. In the unfortunate event you to be rescued, remember that conditions are also dangerous and remote locations take time for first responders to reach you. Being prepared for the elements and for emergency survival can significantly reduce your risk of death or injury and help our Deputies and Search and Rescue Volunteers quickly get you to safety. 

Areas that fall under winter road restrictions and closures are in the following areas: 

  • Kepps Crossing and Eagle Pass roads, East of the Bone Rd.
  • Areas East and South of Bone Rd. from the Day Parking lot and Blacktail Reservoir Rd. through the Grays Lake, Brockman, and McCoy Creek area
  • Meadow Creek Rd. and the Tex Creek area beyond Ririe Reservoir
  • Antelope Creek Rd., Fall Creek Rd. and areas east around Palisades Reservoir to the Wyoming border

Road closure and restricted area maps are updated periodically on the Geographic Information System (GIS) page of the Bonneville County website.  Bonneville County Ordinance No. 176-96 regarding Snowmobile Trails and Road Closures can also be found on the Bonneville County website and contains definitions and restrictions applied to these areas. 

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