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

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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  1. Monty Avatar

    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.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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