Washington Wild is a founding member of the Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative (WWRI), which is a coalition of environmental and outdoor recreation groups and state agencies working to advocate for federal funding to maintain Forest Service roads and trails that provide access and reclaim old and decaying logging roads to reestablish healthy ecosystems.
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.
Our forest roads need to be maintained, but the Forest Service currently faces a backlog of road maintenance that is upwards of $8 billion nationwide including at least $300 million in Washington State. These unmaintained legacy roads have significant negative impacts on forest watersheds (including impacts from blown-out culverts) which can:
- Block fish passage
- Pour sediment into salmon streams which smothers fish eggs
- Cause landslides
- Degrade downstream community drinking water
THE SOLUTION: Since 2008, the Legacy Roads and Trails Program received $430 million nationally, with national forests in Washington receiving nearly $30 million. In Washington alone, these funds have maintained more than 2,000 miles of access roads, decommissioned more than 250 miles of high aquatic risk and failing legacy roads, upgraded more than 100 miles of trails and fixed more than 50 stream crossings and bridges, and restoration of fish passage.
For more information, read the FY2016 Legacy Roads and Trails Program Brochure.
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 […]
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 12 conservation and recreation organizations to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest prioritizing key forest service roads providing recreational access for continued maintenance while identifying old decaying logging roads for decommissioning and watershed restoration. The balanced comments were focused on national forest road system adjacent to Mt. […]