BEDFORD, Ind. – Severe storms have impacted the Charles C. Deam Wilderness area, resulting in the full public closure of the peninsula area, according to the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The popular spot for shoreline camping on Monroe Lake received extensive damage during recent severe weather, and it is currently unknown when the areas will reopen.
The USDA says crews are already assessing damage and formulating plans for mitigating safety hazards.
Because this area is a congressionally designated wilderness area, motorized equipment is not permitted and cleanup efforts will have to rely on more hands-on methods.
This closure is in addition to the already closed trails on the Brownstown Ranger District in Monroe, Jackson, Brown, and Lawrence counties announced on Monday. This includes all trails in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area and the Shirley Creek trail in Orange County, says USDA.
Emergency closures are expected to stay in place until Forest Service personnel can thoroughly assess the extent of the damage and ensure the safety of future visitors.
The USDA is expecting additional rain and storm activity this weekend and is preparing for conditions to worsen over the coming days, and is asking the public to use extreme caution when driving through the forest as roads may be impacted by standing water or flash flooding.
The USDA statement specifically sites the following areas:
The Peninsula Area of the Charles C. Deam Wilderness area within the Brownstown Ranger District, in Brown and Monroe counties, north of the Grubb Ridge trail no. 405.10, extending from the junction of the Grubb Ridge trail and the Peninsula trail no. 405.60 and extending west from that junction to Monroe Lake Reservoir, and described as:
- All NFS land located within Sections 2 and 11, T7N, R1E, 2nd P.M., Monroe County, Indiana.
- All NFS land located in that part of Section 10, T7N, R1E, 2nd P.M., Monroe County, Indiana, laying east of the waters of Monroe Lake.
- All NFS land located in that part of Section 1, T7N, R1E, 2nd P.M., Brown County, Indiana, laying west of the waters of Monroe Lake.
- All NFS land located in the Southwest Quarter of Section 12, T7N, R1E, 2nd P.M., Brown County, Indiana.