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The 2005 Travel Planning Rule requires each national forest to go through a process of designating areas for motor vehicle use. Mt. Hood National Forest has taken a narrow approach and decided to look at just a small population of motor vehicle use -- off-highway vehicles (OHV). Without looking at the larger road system, the Forest Service is missing the opportunity to improve overall ecosystem health and quiet recreational opportunities.
Currently, there is approximately 4,000 miles of roads in the forest with the potential to threaten salmon habitat, drinking watersheds, and wildlife corridors if there is no maintenance. In 1999 the Forest Service determined that 49% of Mt. Hood?s roads are unnecessary (USFS 1999 Mt. Hood ATM), yet less than 10% of the roads have been removed. The remaining 39% is continuing to deteriorate and could collapse at any time. By doing an analysis of the entire forest road system, necessary maintenance issues can be addressed and budgeted in an appropriate manner. Without this necessary data to inform management decisions, the aging road system will continue to cause access and environmental problems.
If you would like to submit more detailed comments to the Forest Service, send them to Jennie O' Connor; Off-Highway Vehicle Managment Team Leader; Mt. Hood National Forest, 6780 HWY 35, Parkdale, OR 97041 or Commentsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Comments are due to the Forest Service by November 1, 2007