Whether its water, wildlife, or wildlands, roads have been identified as the major impact on the forest environment. Many national forest roads were built during the frenzied decades of the logging boom and were simply abandoned.
The Forest Service currently has around 375,000 miles of known system roads – enough to travel around the earth 15 times. Many of these roads are unneeded, causing tremendous environmental damage, and should be reclaimed and reforested.
The Forest Service has finally recognized that something must be done and recently launched an initiative to address the ecological impacts caused by its massive road network.
On November 10, 2010, the Forest Service’s Washington, DC Office released a memorandum directing field managers to complete the requirements of Subpart A of the Travel Management Rule (36 C.F.R. 212.5(b)), which requires each national forest and grassland to complete a travel analysis to “identify and maintain an appropriately sized and environmentally sustainable road system” by 2015. Forest Service Manual and Handbook provide direction for conducting a travel analysis. The Manual and Handbook lay out a six-step process for completing the analysis. For each of the six steps in the process, this Best Practices Review compiles and spotlights analyses conducted by forests across the country that address issues that are important to The Wilderness Society and the constituencies we represent.
We believe the analyses captured in this compilation offer examples of good practices from which other units can draw and of shortcomings to avoid. We developed this Report to help agency staff as they conduct travel analysis and to help partners participate in the process.
Click on the link below to read the review.