Both eastern and western North Slope coastal areas are now open for winter off-road travel.
The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land and Water said this afternoon that soil temperatures and snow cover in the eastern and western coastal areas have met the criteria for opening — 6 inches of snow and a soil temperature below minus 5 degrees Celsius at a depth of 30 centimeters.
The opening is effective at 4 p.m. today for all vehicles, but applies only to operators who have valid off-road vehicle travel permits to operate on state-owned lands on the North Slope.
The division said that while overall snow cover is good, it may be thin in some areas and those areas should be avoided or special construction methods should be used to protect the tundra surface.
The division also said that special attention should be given to its stipulation regarding winter off-road vehicle travel, which requires adequate frost and snow cover. Site inspections will be conducted periodically by state personnel to ensure compliance.
DNR will continue off-road travel status reports for the upper and lower foothills areas, which remain closed.