After four months of a temporary closure due to this past summer’s Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex and subsequent flood potential, the Catwalk National Recreation Area will be open effective this Saturday, October 6, 2012, starting at 8:00 a.m. “With the upcoming 3-day holiday celebrating Columbus Day and the recent re-opening of Bursum Road (N.M. Highway 159), this is a good time for visitors to once again visit the popular Catwalk on the Gila National Forest; I am very pleased to be able to announce the reopening!” said District Ranger Pat Morrison.
Ranger Morrison added that only a part of the facility will be open initially. Starting Saturday, the picnic area and the old trail as far as the first segment of suspended trail will be open. Crews will continue to work on restoring the remaining trail with phased in reopening of facilities as work is completed and safe for public use. There will be temporary “porta-potties” available for public use, including one accessible toilet.
With the partial reopening, there will be NO fees to visit the Catwalk area. Visitors can enjoy the early autumn colors of the sycamores and willow trees in the Whitewater Picnic Area and Whitewater Creek.
For the safety of the public, the remaining parts of the Catwalk remain closed. Parts of the suspended trail are missing tread and guardrails, and bridges beyond the ½ mile mark have not yet been replaced. The public’s cooperation is requested in abiding by all warning and closure signs, and gates.
The dismantling and removal of portions of the Catwalk trail was done to provide for the safety of downstream residents and businesses in the Glenwood, Alma, and Pleasanton areas in case of flooding during the rainy season.
For those who plan on visiting the Catwalk, there are also many other areas to enjoy. These attractions include the ghost town of Mogollon, a number of historical sites, scenic drives, Frisco Hotsprings, and Pueblo Park Campground. Contact the Glenwood Ranger District at 575.539.2481 for further information or visit the forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila/