The Superior National Forest is requesting public comments on a study of its extensive network of roads. The agency’s analysis will examine risks, benefits and environmental impacts of the Forest’s approximately 2,500 miles of roads.
Citing an increase in maintenance needs and a decrease in funding, the Forest Service will attempt to determine an affordable road system that provides safe travel and protects resources, including the National Forest’s extensive water.
“I encourage interested parties to share comments on specific Forest Service roads that are important to you, or if you have ideas on how to best address maintaining roads with decreasing budgets,” said Forest Supervisor Brenda Halter.
Funding for road maintenance has declined by about two-thirds during the past 15 years, from a peak of about $1.8 million in 2001 to $600,000 in 2014, according to the Superior National Forest.
The Forest Service says the study will:
- Analyze each unit’s road system in connection with environmental, financial, and social risks and benefits; and
- Identify road disposition opportunities that can address a fiscally sustainable road system
Reviewing each road in the system will seek to answer questions including:
- Does the road provide access to private or non-Forest Service lands? (benefit)
- Does the road act as a concurrent motorized and/or non-motorized trail? (benefit)
- Does the road segment have non-native plant populations found within 100 feet? (risk)
- Do streams, lakes, and reservoirs fall within 100 feet of the road or road segments? (risk)
The result of the study will be a series of recommendations for a potential future road system. It is expected by October 2015.
attn: TMRsubpartA Comments
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