GLENWOOD, N.M. - After four dangerous months of forest fires and flood threats, the Catwalk National Recreation Area is reopening in segments in the Gila National Forest .
Starting Saturday the picnic area outside Glenwood and the ground trail are opening to the first section of metal catwalk suspended from the wall of the narrow Whitewater Creek canyon.
Work crews are restoring the remainder of the trail, which will open in sequence as the sections are completed and deemed safe for the public, according to a news release from the Glenwood Ranger District.
Due to the ongoing partial closure, admittance to the area is currently free.
The recreation area first closed in June as the Whitewater and Baldy forest fires merged into what became the largest wildfire in state history.
Then, as the fire neared containment and monsoon rains took aim on denuded mountainsides, the metal catwalk was removed from the canyon to keep it clear for flash floods to help protect the downstream communities of Glenwood, Alma and Pleasonton.
Bursum Road, State Route 159, also is open again as a through route across the northern edge of the Gila after being closed near Mogollon by the Whitewater-Baldy fire.
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