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[at-l] "Hey, I could put a road in there ..."

Whatever your opinion about Bryson's book, (and I probably have three or
four opinions at least, about the book, depending on the issue involved),
the single line I remember from the book, after the two years or so since my
reading of it, appears in the subject line above .... and for some reason I
think it came from the the boring section of the book after he leaves his
thru hike ...

And, hey, this post is about the USFS, and not Bryson, ok?  It isn't a flame
or even bait for more Bryson posts. I don't care if he's a thru, section,
tech, ultraheavey, or any other kind of hiker, alright?? It's just that
Bryson informed me first about the USFS related issues.

Any how, two years later, I read the following and pass it on to any listers
who may care about this particular issue ... but first, the URLs


the URL to the CNN story:

the URL to the Forest Service's new policy:

Both these URLs will get you to other places important to this issue.

Forest Service posts new road policy

Instead of building new roads in national forests, the forest service wants
to reconstruct and better maintain the 380,000 miles of roads that it has.

By Environmental News Network staff

March 7, 2000

Web posted at: 2:18 p.m. EST (1918 GMT)

The United States Forest Service wants to adopt a new road-management
policy, shifting emphasis from building new roads to maintaining and
reconstructing the ones they have.

"It's clear that there will always be roads in national forests. But it is a
welcome change that the forest service has put the brakes on what has been a
massive road-building system," said Jay Watson of The Wilderness Society.
"Any new road building will have to meet rigorous testing and that's a
positive change."

The forest service's new plan promises to rely on scientific analysis and
put decisions in the hands of the public.

The forest service manages more than 380,000 miles of roads in the national
forest system. There are eight times more miles of roads in national forests
than there are in the entire interstate highway system.

In February 1999, the forest service put a moratorium on road construction
and reconstruction in certain roadless areas of national forests and
grasslands. The action gave the agency 18 months to draft a new
road-management policy and develop new tools for studying forests.

The new plan is not related to the Clinton administration's proposal to keep
roads off undeveloped forest land.

Under the forest service proposal, managers of each of the 155 national
forests and 20 grasslands would work with the public to identify
heavily-used roads that require maintenance or upgrading and roads that
could be decommissioned or converted to other uses. Building a new road or
decommissioning an old one would be subject to scientific survey and public

"Implementation of this policy at the local level will ensure safe and
efficient access of public lands while protecting land health," said forest
service chief Mike Dombeck. "This policy will enable us to engage local
people in constructive dialogue about how they want their national forests
and grasslands managed."

One of many U.S. Forest Service roads in need of repair is located in the
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of Wisconsin.

The revised plan pays more attention to the impact of road construction on
the environment.

"Any new road has to be beneficial to the forest ecosystem rather than
providing access to a stand of forest to be cut," said Watson. "The other
values of the forest must balance against the quest to log all areas."

The forest service is staring at an $8.4 billion backlog in maintenance and
reconstruction projects.

"The public has rightfully questioned the logic of building new roads when
the forest service is inadequately funded to maintain its existing road
system," said Dombeck.

The majority of forest service roads were built for use by timber
operations. An estimated 1.7 million recreational vehicles per day now
travel those roads. About 15,000 logging trucks and industry vehicles per
day use forest roads, down from 42,000 in 1990.

A 60-day public comment period on the forest service proposal ends May 2,
2000. Send comments by mail to USDA Forest Service, CAET, Attn. Roads, P.O.
Box 22300, Salt Lake City, UT 84122; by fax to (801) 517-1021; or by e-mail
to the Forest Service.

Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved

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