FLAGSTAFF - As several Northern Arizona Snow Play Recreational Sites prepare to open this weekend the Coconino County Sheriff's Office and the Flagstaff Police Department are anticipating an influx of winter recreation enthusiasts.
As these recreational sites prepare to open the snow play areas located along the Highway 180 corridor are anticipated to be very busy with several of the more popular areas possibly reaching capacity by 11 a.m.
Of particular concern is congestion on Highway 180 north of Flagstaff, since several popular winter recreation sites including Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff Nordic Center and Wing Mountain Snow Play Area are located along this highway.
If you are using the Highway 180 Corridor please expect the possibility of heavy traffic congestion and significant delays. In the event of heavy congestion public safety agencies may offer alternative routes as you enter Flagstaff. Please consider these alternative routes as viable options. On particularly busy days the traffic congestion seems to be the heaviest from 4:00 pm to after 6:00 pm. Winter enthusiasts may consider leaving earlier to avoid some of the heavier traffic. Remember you are here to have fun so please exercise patience and courtesy.
Visitors who are traveling to and from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park may want to consider alternative routes that would allow them to avoid heavy traffic congestion and significant delays on Highway 180 during peak hours of use. Travelers to the South Rim may head west from Flagstaff on Interstate Highway 40 to State Route 64 just east of Williams AZ and North on 64 to the Grand Canyon.
When traveling in Northern Arizona motorist should be prepared for the possibility of Winter Driving Conditions.
Know before you go - Current information about where to go to play in the snow is available daily from the Flagstaff Visitor Center at 877-878-9377. A map of Winter Recreation sites in the Flagstaff-Coconino National Forest area is at http://flagstaffarizona.org/documents/WinterRec.map.pdf
Be prepared for cold weather and winter driving conditions with a full tank of gas, chains, flashlight and other emergency items. Pack extra dry clothes, snacks, water and a trash bag.
Be safe and aware. Don't park along the highway. Look before you slide. Watch out for hazards and other visitors. Bike helmets are recommended for safe sledding...
Be patient. Highways through the Flagstaff area may be congested.
Leave no trace other than footprints and snowmen. Take your trash with you.
Respect private property and other locations where snow play and sledding is not appropriate.