The Alaska Department of Natural Resources opened the Lower Foothills to off-road tundra travel effective 8 a.m. yesterday morning.
DNR said it has documented that soil temperatures and snow cover within the Lower Foothills have met opening criteria — 9 inches of snow and soil temperatures below minus 5 degrees Celsius at a depth of 30 centimeters.
This opening applies only to those operators who have valid off-road vehicle travel permits to operate on state-owned lands on the North Slope.
DNR said that although overall snow cover is good, it may be thin in some areas and those areas should be avoided or special construction methods used to protect the tundra surface.
The Upper Foothills Area remains closed and DNR said it will continue off-road travel status reports until this area is open.
The eastern and western coastal areas opened for winter off-road travel Dec. 29.