Trail crews are scheduled to begin removing hazards from the hardest-hit hiking trails in the Monongahela starting in about two weeks.
"Right now, every mile of trail in the Otter Creek Wilderness is closed off" due to storm damage, Sandeno said, while hikers will find many other trails difficult to use until they are cleared of debris.
The wilderness trails will be cleared by crews consisting mainly of Forest Service trail foremen from western states, where trails usually remain snow-covered through April.
"We'll be borrowing them for about a month, and then we'll be hiring seasonal crews for our normal trail work," Sandeno said.
Monongahela National Forest personnel will provide detailed information about delays, closures, repair work status and re-openings on its website at www.fs.usda.gov/mnf. For more information, call the Gauley Ranger District office in Richwood at 304-846-2122 or the forest's headquarters in Elkins at 304-636-1800.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.