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Monument trail remains closed
January 22, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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The center section of the Saddle Rock Trail at Scotts Bluff National Monument remains closed to the public until a specialist can determine how to make repairs.

A substantial rock slide the night of Dec. 14 undercut an upper section of the trail and the debris slid down onto the trail below. Repairs will take more than just a cleanup operation.

Bob Manasek, the monument’s Resource Management Specialist, said they’ve been in contact with a geo-hazard specialist with the National Park Service. He has yet to arrive, although he’s expected at any time.

“We haven’t had any geology experts here since the slide,” Manasek said. “The condition of the trail hasn’t changed since we closed it and nothing more substantial has come down since then.”

The damage was probably caused by continuous freezing and thawing on the south side of the monument as it faces the winter sun.

The slide is above Scott Springs on the Saddle Rock Trail and can be seen from the highway in front of the monument. The upper and lower sections of the trail remain open, but barricades have been set up in the affected area.

“The middle section of the trail will remain closed indefinitely until we can get an expert opinion and see what the options are,” Manasek said. “We’ve clearly marked the parts that are off limits.”

Manasek said further information will be made public as soon as the specialist determines what repairs are needed to get the trail open to the public again.
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