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Memorial Day goal set for Bear Camp clearing

Snow removal is under way to clear Bear Camp Road, which links Grants Pass to the coast, by Memorial Day weekend.

Unless Mother Nature intervenes, the 50-mile route will be open for the holiday weekend, according to Virginia Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

In addition to snow removal, road crews will be working to repair any damage caused by winter weather, she noted.

The mountain road, which provides the shortest — although not the straightest — route between Grants Pass and Gold Beach is usually open the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

Drivers on the twisting mountain road are advised to drive slowly, use extreme caution and be prepared to stop for oncoming traffic, Gibbons said.

In addition to road crews and equipment, drivers may encounter potholes, tree limbs and rocks along the road.

Because the route is winding, narrow and remote, and weather and road conditions tend to change rapidly, travelers are encouraged to bring appropriate survival gear, including food and water, Gibbons said.

About 37 miles of the road lies within national forest boundaries. Another 12 miles is on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Medford District.

The route is heavily used by recreational drivers and as a shuttle route by those floating the Wild and Scenic stretch of the Rogue River.

The road is not maintained from Nov. 5 to Memorial Day weekend.