Landslide update

Cook Lake status meeting planned for Wednesday

By Sarah Pridgeon


Forest Service representatives have scheduled a public meeting next week to provide updates on the situation at Cook Lake recreation area, which is currently closed to the public due to an elevated danger of landslides.

The popular site has been closed to visitors since last summer, when the continuous spring rain and higher than average amounts of melting snow caused concern over possible landslide movements. No landslides took place, but the Forest Service launched an investigation into what they believe to be a high landslide danger at the site.

The landslide in question is located directly above the lake itself and, according to FS geologist Karl Emanuel, is the most dangerous in a county that boasts more than 1550 active slides. During its most recent public meeting in September, Emanuel stated that the Forest Service is sure the slide is moving and knows that slides of this type can move incredibly quickly.

(Jeff Moberg photo)
(Jeff Moberg photo)

The FS announced that it would continue to investigate the stability of the slope and had placed monitoring around the slide to determine its full nature. After what Emanuel described as 11 above-average years for precipitation, with 2013 being the wettest on record for the area, the recreation site was kept closed due to the FS’s heightened level of concern that “loading”.

In September, Emanuel announced that there is evidence of movement including cracks opening up, trees at a 20-degree angle and the need to replace a bridge more than once. While a large rainfall can be the trigger for a fast flow, he said, it can take up to 18 months between cause and effect.

The public meeting will provide updates on September’s information and inform the public on the current landslide conditions at Cook Lake. It will be held on Wednesday, May 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Sundance State Bank Meeting Room.