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E-M:/ National Forest Roads Management Policy

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

 While a lot of attention has focused on the roadless area proposal currently 
 under consideration in Washington regarding our National Forests, another part 
 of that policy discussion, with perhaps even a greater potential to influence 
 management of Michigan's National Forests, is revision of the policy of the 
 Forest Service for managing Forest Roads.  The Forest Service has more miles of 
 roads on its lands than the entire Interstate highway system, and because of 
 inadequate funding for decades the system is severely degraded, causing 
 ecological damage.  In Michigan, the 3 National Forests are known to have 
 approximately 10,000 miles of Forest Roads, but inventories of roads have not 
 been completed on at least one of the Forests.  
 Below is a press release from the Secty of Agriculture about a proposed new 
 policy for roads on National Forests, and a 60 day notice period for 
 commenting on this policy is kicked off today. More info is available at the 
 website listed a the end of the release.   Anne Woiwode
 Secretary Glickman Proposes New Policy for Managing Forest Roads
                                            Release No.  0068.00
                                     Susan McAvoy (202) 720-4623
                                    Keven Kennedy (202) 720-7173
      WASHINGTON, March 2, 2000--Agriculture Secretary Glickman today proposed a 
 new USDA Forest Service road management policy for the 380,000 miles of 
 forest roads.  The new policy is designed to help USDA's Forest Service and 
 forest dependent communities prioritize road maintenance and reconstruction
 work so that the national forest road system will be more affordable to manage 
 in the future. 
      "The number of Americans visiting our national forests every year is
 skyrocketing," said Glickman.  "This proposal addresses how to maintain our 
 existing road network in an environmentally and fiscally responsible way."
      Under the proposal, each of the 155 national forests and 20 grasslands
 would work with the public to identify heavily-used roads that require 
 maintenance or upgrade, and roads that are unused or environmentally damaging 
 that can be decommissioned or converted to other uses.  The policy would shift 
 the emphasis to maintenance and reconstruction of existing roads rather than 
 on building new roads.
      In February 1999, the Forest Service announced an interim rule that
 temporarily suspended road construction and reconstruction in certain unroaded 
 areas on national forests and grasslands.  The interim rule gave the agency no 
 more than 18 months to draft a new road policy and develop new analytical 
 The final road management policy is scheduled for completion this 
 summer.  The release of the draft opens a 60-day public comment period. 
 Comments may be sent 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 
 In a separate but related effort, the Forest Service is carrying out the 
 President's request to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) and to 
 determine how the public wants the agency to manage roadless areas on our 
 national forests.  The Draft EIS will be released this spring for additional 
 public comment.
 For more information on the proposed road management policy, go to 

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