This is great news for fisheries and clean water. Abandoned logging roads often don’t heal. In fact, they can generate more and more erosion as the years go by, the culverts wash out, and small disturbances turn into gullies. In addition, there are many “use” ways — roads never constructed that were made simply by people driving. Because they were never planned or located to fit the land, these too are major sources of erosion.

Unfortunately, the Service doesn’t have the money to to this, but there is a bill moving through the House that would provide the money. “The ‘Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Initiative’ under consideration by the House would set aside funding for road decommissioning, road and trail repair and maintenance, and the removal of fish barriers.”

Story in the Missoulian. Forest Service seeks closure of worn-out roads. By Perry Backus.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Forest Service seeks to decommission 19,000 miles of old logging and unauthorized roads in its Northern Region

  1. avatar Monty says:

    Closing roads, using gates & a few “tank traps”, in the highly productive lower elevation federal forests of “westside Oregon & Washington” works relatively well due the rapid vegetative growth rates. Even with some unauthorized traffic, the roads, in 5 to 10 years, are impassible. Some of these forests have excellent wildlife closures & although they don’t obliterate all roads, gates are a cheap & effective in many areas. Most hunters in areas where I live support an effective road closure program. Closed roads are great place for hiking as deer, elk, lions & bears frequent them.


June 2007


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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