The Gilman Tunnels, a popular tourist attraction near the Guadalupe Box in the Santa Fe National Forest, will be closed until mid-August while crews stabilize rock cliffs in the area.
Motorized and foot traffic are prohibited on Forest Road 376 from mile marker 0.1 at Gilman Loop, just north of the community of Gilman, to mile marker 5.5, just north of the tunnels.
The tunnels were blasted through the Río Guadalupe box canyon in the early 1920s for the Santa Fe Northwestern Railway’s logging operations in the surrounding Jemez Mountains.
GeoStabilization International, a geohazard mitigation firm that specializes in rockfall mitigation and emergency landslide repair based in Grand Junction, Colorado, was contracted by the U.S. Forest Service to remove loose rock and stabilize the rock cliffs around the tunnels, according to a news release.
Recreation sites and grazing allotments on Forest Road 376 will remain accessible from the north via State Road 126.
The Forest Service issued the closure order May 15. The order will remain in effect until Aug. 15 unless it is rescinded earlier. The Forest Service said signs will be posted in multiple locations to notify the public that this segment of the road is closed, though no signs were visible when a Taos News reporter toured the area Sunday (May 14).
Federal, state and local officers, members of an organized rescue team or firefighting force and any others authorized by permit are exempt from the closure order, according to the Forest Service. In the event of an emergency, the route could be opened, depending on the type of emergency, relative risk to the health and safety of the public and the crew’s ability to clear the roadway in a timely way.