The U.S. Forest Service is conducting a study of the road system on the White Mountain NationalForest and wants to know from the public which national forest roads are important to them and why. The Forest Service will host a public meeting Tuesday, March 24, at the Androscoggin Ranger District at 300 Glen Road in Gorham, N.H., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A presentation will be held at 6 p.m., and will cover the travel management rule, rationale, scientific process used, and public input. Following the presentation there will be time for questions and comments. (603.466.2713)
The study will analyze all the system roads on the forest for their existing use and characteristics, need for future management activities and public access, benefits, environmental risks and maintenance costs. Every national forest will complete a similar study by 2015.
According to Forest Service officials, the number of overdue road maintenance projects continues to grow, while public use is increasing. Roads that cannot be adequately maintained can be unsafe to visitors and threaten forest ecosystems. “The road study will begin to help us prioritize our limited resources to effectively manage roads used by visitors and the accomplishment of our broad natural resource management mission,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner.
Understanding which forest roads are important and how people use them is a critical part of identifying a sustainable road system. The road study is not a decision, but is intended to help inform future road management planning. Before any future actions are taken, the Forest Service will provide additional opportunities for the public to participate in the process.
Anyone may view maps of roads on the national forest and provide input through an online comment form on the web site atwww.fs.usda.gov/whitemountain. Hardcopy maps and comment forms are also available for review at each Ranger District office and the Forest Supervisor’s office.