WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE, OK (TNN) - A rumor making waves on social media that the road to Mount Scott would be closed for two more years proved to be just that - a rumor.
The road leading up Mount Scott has been closed to vehicles since September. But hikers spending the day on Mount Scott are torn on the closure, with some anxious for it to open back up, but others wishing it would stay closed to drivers permanently.
"It’s a bit more of an advantage so you don’t have to worry about cars going up or down. Usually they don’t do the speed limit, they’re doing about 5 over or so. We don’t’ have to worry about being hit, we can stop and take pictures at our leisure,” said Seth Westerfield.
"Especially around the curves where you can’t see them,” said Isabella Difatta.
“I’ve got my grandma visiting and I kind of want to take her to the top but she’s kind of old and we’re not going to make it to the top. So I can’t give her the full experience of the mountain,” said Jon Reid.
”Driving is a lot more fun because you can come with a lot of people and roll down your windows and enjoy the beautiful scene but walking is just as great,” Raven Sanford.
The road closed to all vehicles at the end of September after heavy flooding resulted in moving boulders and running water making its way underneath the road when it rains.
"We don’t believe it’s going to cause any life threatening situation but certainly we want to be as cautious as possible, that’s why we’ve got the roadway shut down. Certainly, there’s potential that the roadway could collapse in certain areas, we’ve seen some pockets and some cave ins. We just want to make sure we’re being safe and ask our visitors to do the same,” said Visitor Services Manager Lynn Cartmell.
A Facebook post from a Mount Scott page with more than 8,000 followers reported the road will be closed for two more years, but Cartmell said the refuge does not run that page and they are unsure of where that timeline came from.
"We really don’t have any idea, we’ve seen that mentioned a couple of times online that two years was the marker, we think it may have been a misinterpretation of information around Mount Scott,” Cartmell said.
Despite the rumors, Cartmell said everything with the repair is on schedule.
"We just completed the engineering phase of the project. Now we’re working through the compliance phase. We’ll be working with the state historic preservation office and the tribal historic preservation office. Once we have completed that we will start to move onto the construction phase,” Cartmell said.
Cartmell said they hope to have the road fully back open before the end of 2019.