Improving Forests in the Sierra Nevada

Desolation Wilderness, Mount Tallac Trail
Miguel Vieira-Flickr
The Wilderness Society improves the ecological health of Sierra Nevada forests when we identify illegal, eroding roads and trails – and convert them back to the wild.

Many illegal, user-created dirt roads and trails snake through these forests. As they disintegrate, they cause erosion and pollute rivers, which provide more than half of California’s water. We work to restore the health of these forests by identifying roads for future reclamation.

A network of eroding roads

More than 9,000 miles of unauthorized roads have been created by off-road drivers in California’s national forests. Many of these dirt routes and trails leave behind gouged out meadows and eroded scars in the forest.

In the Sierra Nevada, these illegal or eroding roads pollute essential streams and rivers. This area is a critical watershed that gives California 60 percent of its water.

Restoring the forests ecological health

To restore the health of Sierra Nevada’s forests, these disintegrating and illegal roads must first be identified. Eventually these roads can be turned back to nature, rebalancing the Sierra’s critical forest habitat.

Eliminating unnecessary roads can also recover the forest’s natural sounds, enjoyed by both wildlife and people.

See also:

Roads, vehicles and access

Helpful links