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Photo Courtesy of WA Wild

Photo Courtesy of WA Wild

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.

Conservation, Recreation Groups Oppose Mining Expansion in North Cascades Roadless Area

Today, Washington Wild coordinated a letter signed by 21 conservation and recreation organizations and local businesses to the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. The letter expressed concern over the draft Environmental Assessment for the 10 acre expansion of the Swen Larson olivine quarry on the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest in Whatcom County. Read the Comment […]

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Forest Service Releases Improved Roads Decision on Greenwater Watershed

After a more than a year of input from local conservation and recreation groups, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest released a final decision notice on efforts to maintain and right size the road system on the Greenwater watershed adjacent to Mt. Rainier National Park. Washington Wild coordinated three different joint comment letters signed by 13 […]

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Organizations Support Balance of Watershed Restoration and Recreational Access on Olympic National Forest

Washington Wild helped coordinate a letter signed by 10 conservation and recreation organizations preserving and enhancing recreational access and supporting watershed restoration on the Dungeness Watershed. The letter expressed support for addressing an oversized and under-maintained road system that causes high aquatic risk to our watersheds and fish while balancing important recreation opportunities. The groups […]

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