Ranger Districts Examine Risks and Benefits of Road System
KALISPELL, MONT. – The U.S. Forest Service is conducting an analysis of the road system on three of the ranger districts in the Flathead National Forest. Every national forest will complete a travel analysis report by 2015. The Hungry Horse, Glacier View and Spotted Bear Ranger Districts are scheduled to complete their analysis this year.
The travel analysis will include the identification of risks and benefits on National Forest System Roads (NFSR) roads as they pertain to safe and efficient travel and the protection, management, and use of the national forest.
Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber says, “The travel analysis is not a proposal or decision, but is intended to help inform possible future road management planning. We will need public input to inform the analysis, but this will not be a formal public comment process. Before any projects are implemented on the ground the public will have an opportunity to comment through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.”
Once the analysis has captured the known risks and benefits, an interactive mapping tool reflecting the initial results of the analysis will be posted to the FNF website and available for the public to view and make comments. The mapping tool will allow the public to provide input to better inform the analysis and help identify risks and benefits we may have missed.
The agency expects to maintain an appropriately sized and environmentally sustainable road system that is responsive to ecological, economic and social concerns. The national forest system of the future must continue to provide access for recreation and resource management, as well as support watershed restoration and resource protection to sustain healthy ecosystems. Nearly everyone who uses the National Forest will be affected by possible future road management decisions, making it important to work together today to identify a sustainable road system
When maps are available that capture t.he results of the analysis, additional information will be released to let everyone know how to access the maps and what kind of input we will be seeking.
E. Wade Muehlhof
Public Affairs Officer
Flathead National Forest