Public meetings to decide future of forest roads

By Jason Miller
posted 7.6.13

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest staffers want to find out what roads are important to the public and why.

To that end, eight meetings have been scheduled through October in Seattle, Sedro-Woolley, Issaquah, Bellingham, Enumclaw, Monroe, Darrington, and Everett. The goal is to gather input from the public regarding which forest roads they use and how they use them.

Each year five million people visit the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. They drive forest roads to get to their destinations. Approximately 2,500 miles of roads crisscross the forest, from the Canadian border to Mt. Rainier National Park on the western Cascades.  The Forest Service can afford to maintain about a quarter of them.

Guided by mandates in the 2005 Travel Management Rule, each national forest must identify a road system by 2015 within budget for safe travel, use, administration, and resource protection. Translation: Tell the forest service which roads you can’t live without, and be prepared to see the others decommissioned.

The first public meeting was held June 29 in Seattle. Remaining meetings in the Concrete Herald readership area are:

  • July 9, 10 a.m. to noon
    Mt. Baker District office, Sedro-Woolley
  • Aug. 21, 4:30 to 7 p.m.
    Darrington Public Library
  • Sept. 10, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
    Bellingham Public Library

RSVP to Capacity is limited and attendance is on a first-come basis. Those who do not attend a meeting will be able to give their input online­­­­­­­­. The forest will share the results with the public in late fall after a report is compiled and analyzed.

“The future is uncertain. But that doesn’t mean we can afford to stand back and let circumstances dictate our decisions for us. This analysis will guide us, in a holistic, forest-wide approach, in choosing the roads we can afford to keep open,” said Jennifer Eberlien, forest supervisor.

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