Washington Wild is working hard to help support a sustainable road system on our national forests that both
prioritizes maintenance of important access roads while addressing aquatic and terrestrial impacts to water quality, wildlife and the broader watershed.
THE PROBLEM: There are nearly 370,000 miles of Forest Service roads crisscrossing our national forests, including 22,000 miles here in Washington State–many of them left over from the peak timber harvests of decades past. That amounts to almost eight times the U.S. federal highway system. This creates many challenges for the Forest Service to manage such an oversized, under budgeted and under-maintained road system.
Today, the road network continues to support forest management activities in addition to growing recreational usage. Unfortunately, road budgets are unable to completely support this increase in demand as funding levels are now only 18 percent of what they were back in 1990.
THE SOLUTION: The Forest Service itself has worked on addressing the issue by requiring each national forest to create a sustainable road system plan by 2015 that is based on both need and budget. Some of the national forest plans are still under development at this time, but they are continuing to move forward.
Washington Wild has taken a leadership role in mobilizing support from conservation and recreation groups to both prioritize maintenance for roads providing important access while at the same time identifying impassable roads for decommissioning. We have coordinated several joint comment letters to road maintenance project proposals by the Forest Service in support of a sustainable road system. See the updates below to find different comment letters and other updates in support of a Sustainable Road System.
The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest announced a decision on their plan for road maintenance levels in the Nooksack basin near Mt. Baker. The draft decision took to heart many of the recommendations outlined in a comment letter by 18 conservation and recreation organizations in March 2016. Changes include significantly increasing the miles of roads to […]
WA Wild coordinated a joint comment letter signed by 18 conservation and recreation organizations calling for a balance between recreation and road restoration in the Nooksack Watershed. The groups called for decommissioning old decaying logging roads while preserving access and continued maintenance to road leading to trails, campgrounds and other infrastructure as part of the Upper […]
The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest approved a proposal to decommission and remove 10 miles of old decaying logging roads located adjacent to the Wild Sky Wilderness. These roads no longer provide recreational access but pose aquatic risks to the Harlan Creek watershed. Washington Wild, along with three other organizations, submitted comments on the Environmental Assessment […]