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The U.S. Forest Service is in the process of developing a management plan for the old mining town of Monte Cristo which includes the potential to make a temporary road authorized for Superfund clean up actions permanent in the Glacier Peak Roadless Area. The road was originally constructed to help clean up old toxic waste from the once-mining town that posed threats to wildlife, the environment and public health. However, the road was never meant to be permanent or sustainable and is required to be deconstructed once the monitoring period for the cleanup is completed. In addition, maintaining the presence of this road within an Inventoried Roadless Area (IRA) violates the 2001 Roadless Rule which prohibits new road construction within designated areas.
The Forest Service is seeking public input until March 5, 2018.
Over the last year, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has already greenlighted or proposed two projects that allow new road building in IRAs, the Olivine Mine and Excelsior Mine Expansions. Continuing to allow roadbuilding in IRAs sets a dangerous precedent for the future management of the Forest and in Roadless Areas.
However, the Forest is also seeking input on important trail access and amenities like trail maintenance, bathroom facilities to accommodate the popularity of the area, new bridge building to enhance access to Monte Cristo, and restoration maintenance on this historic site.