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Forest Service officials urge caution, close some properties

CAMPTON — The Forest Service swung the gates closed Monday in White Mountains National Forest on a number of wooded roads which typically see wind damage. It also closed its campgrounds. The Forest Service hoped people will heed their warnings to stay out of the 800,000 acres till Wednesday, but it remains largely still open.

Tiffany Benna, spokesman for the Forest Service said even Appalachian Trail thorugh-hikers should take a break and wait out the winds, which were expected to be up to 80 mph.

&#';We don&#';t take closing public land lightly,&#'; she said, noting the decision is to keep much of the forest open, with exceptions.

This storm has more wind potential than water damage as seen from Irene, she said.

Irene did more than $10 million in damage to infrastructure and trails in the White Mountains and closed some trails since last August. There was up to 6 inches of rain in several hours whereas Sandy was predicted to drop 2 to 3 inches in six hours. And the ground has been dry.

&#';No one should be out there in the next 24 hours,&#'; due to falling tree danger, Benna said.

Fish and Game reported no rescues underway as of 1 p.m.

Campgrounds closed Monday included Blackberry, Barns&#'; Field, Osceola, Hancock and Tripoli. Roads closed include Wild River, Sawyer River, Long Pond, Bog Dam Loop and the Glen Ellis Day Use facility is closed.

&#';We anticipate everything to be back open by Wednesday mornings,&#'; Benna said.

ptracy@unionleader.com


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