The main road to South Thorne Bay and Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island remains blocked by a massive landslide that came down during a rainstorm on New Year’s Day.
There is some question over who has responsibility of the road. The state says it isn’t their jurisdiction. It might be federal, but because of the government shutdown, federal response has been limited.
The City of Thorne Bay has declared a public emergency and requested federal assistance.
In a Monday email, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jacqueline Chandler writes that the agency is reviewing the slide, looking at recommendations and discussing next steps with affected communities.
She writes that, because of the shutdown, nobody with the Forest Service could be interviewed about the slide.
A group called the South Bay Community Association, representing the affected residents of South Thorne Bay, sent a news release on Monday expressing concern about access. There is an alternate route to the area, but it’s an old single-lane logging road.
The news release states that the communities plan to improve the old logging road. But when it snows, that road will be challenging, according to the release. The association was particularly concerned about school buses trying to navigate the logging road.
The association notes that Kasaan has excavators at the slide and is working to start clearing it. The news release states that the City of Thorne Bay could start working from the other side.
However, Thorne Bay officials have said the slide area is unstable.