During the unsustainable logging boom of the 1970s and 80s, the Forest Service and BLM built logging roads like there was no tomorrow. Many forests in the Klamath Siskiyous are now blanketed with a maze of logging roads that are literally falling apart.
Thousands of miles of logging roads in the region have not been maintained in years. Road culverts at the end of their lifespan are failing, impacting water quality. Poorly designed roads place forest visitors at-risk and fragment wildlife habitat. Yet the maintenance backlog continues to grow and some forest managers still propose even more road construction in our national forests.
To address the significant environmental and economic challenges presented by the sprawling network of old logging roads on our public forest lands, the Forest Service is implementing Travel Management Planning process whereby the agency identifies which roads are necessary for recreation or forest management, and which roads are duplicative and serve no public need.
Those that serve no real need
will be candidates for closure or decommissioning while those that serve
a useful function to the public or the Forest Service will be priorities for maintenance. KS Wild supports this common-sense planning process to bring the logging road network into the 21st century.
Some National Forests are doing better than others at implementing the Travel Management Planning process. Under pressure from off-road vehicle clubs, several Forests in the region are not proposing the decommissioning of any old logging roads despite their inability to maintain the road system and the significant water quality damage caused by un-maintained travel ways.
Other National Forests are taking the lead and improving road safety and water quality by closing un-needed logging roads that harm fish habitat and riparian values.
KS Wild has conducted extensive field reviews of the logging road systems throughout southern Oregon and northern California and we provide detailed information to the Forest Service about which roads are needed for public and administrative access, and which roads are particularly harmful to water and wildlife. We strive to reduce road impacts in wildlands, riparian areas, and botanical hotspots, while improving road maintenance of routes that provide access to recreation and needed management.