CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It may take until spring to reach and clear some roads blocked by downed trees and branches in the Monongahela National Forest, following the heavy early-season snowfall that accompanied Hurricane Sandy's path through West Virginia's eastern mountains.U.S. Forest Service officials in Elkins said that the hunting season - already underway -- is shaping up to be a challenging one for hunters, because of the large number of trees blocking forest roads, and safety threats posed by storm-damaged trees and limbs along trails and in the forest.Road-clearing priority will go to forest roads normally open at this time of year.A band of forest extending from Richwood through Elkins to Parsons, and the lower-elevation areas of the 921,000-acre Monongahela seem to have received the most damage from the storm, according to the Forest Service.The Marlinton-White Sulphur Ranger District along the southeastern portion of the Monongahela and the area around Petersburg escaped major damage from the storm.
Elsewhere in the state, Holly River State Park in Webster County closed for the year because of a lack of power, water, telephone and Internet service. The 8,101-acre park's cabins and campground normally stay open until the last Monday in November.Blackwater Falls State Park in Tucker County remains closed because of a lack of power and storm-downed trees blocking access roads. The park's year-round lodge, cabins and restaurant were expected to reopen early next week.Power has been restored to nearby Canaan Valley Resort State Park, which has reopened and is operating normally.