We all have a favorite long mountain road we remember driving way up into the subalpine country, with a short hike at the end leading to open meadows and views. Some might remember that before that logging road was built there was a long hike through deep forest involved, lost when that road was built to 'get out the cut.'
|"Logging-road mileage has more than doubled in Northwest national forests since 1960, far outstripping the pace of street and highway construction in the region" -http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19951212&slug=2157228|
It hasn't been a big surprise that a lot of those roads have been cut off by washouts, blowouts, avalanches, slumps... you name it... since they webuilt. Now the Forest Service is no longer aggressively building roads and cutting, but all those old roads remain. The road budget is way down, but many hikers still want to do that long drive to a short hike, and instead they run into Road Closed signs.
The Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest (MBSNF) started a program to try to determine where to spend their scarce road repair funds, calling it the Sustainable Roads Project, and took public input as one part of that. NCCC has been tracking this process closely. There will be some hard choices to make. If scarce dollars aren't properly allocated, few if any may get the precious "access" they seek.
Now MBNSF is preparing to report the results of their survey of public input. The data collection that will be reported on was designed to assess the public use levels and knowledge of the 2,500 miles of Forest Service roads on the MBNSF, as a first step.
MBSNF is holding four meetings to present these results to the public who contributed the data input. These meetings are planned as follows:
July 17, 6:00 − 8:30 pm
Park Place Middle School Commons
1408 W. MainStreet
Monroe, WA 98272
July 24, 6:00 − 8:30 pm
Issaquah Main Library
10 West Sunset Way
Issaquah, WA 98027
July 29, 2:00 − 4:30 pm
The Mountaineers [Seattle]
7700 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
July 31, 6:00 − 8:30 pm
Darrington Community Center
570 Sauk Avenue
Darrington, WA 98241
This public input is only one aspect of MBS's development of a Sustainable Roads Strategy, due out in 2015, which is to provide guidance for “right-sizing” and maintaining the roads on the forest.