Call for input on Collawash River map

Use this forum to report and discuss trails in need of maintenance. This will help organizations like TKO and agencies like the Forest Service get the most recent on-the-ground trail conditions.
RobFromRedland
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by RobFromRedland » October 31st, 2014, 5:44 am

greenjello85 wrote:On a slight tangent, does anyone know what trailhead the southeast blue TH mark is?
I think (but not sure due to the lack of detail on the map) that might be the trailhead to Round Lake. A very short trail to the lake and then around it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

rplaeger
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by rplaeger » October 31st, 2014, 10:00 am

It’s great to see a number of folks commenting on Bark’s map of the Collawash watershed.

Bark recently helped to catalyze a letter to the Forest Service calling on them to “invest in fixing neglected roads that lead to campgrounds and trailheads, repairing trails forest-wide, and removing – instead of maintaining – unneeded, ecologically harmful roads.” These shifts in the focus of land management in Mt. Hood National Forest will benefit local communities and the millions of people who visit the forest each year.

The letter was signed by 46 businesses and organizations including a number who conduct year-round hikes, climbs, XC ski, and snowshoe outings in Mt. Hood area. Businesses that sell & rent gear for hikers and cyclists signed on; so did some restaurants along Highway 26 in Zigzag.

We want to see improved access for the public; better maintained trails and roads to trailheads & recreation sites. That will help the local recreation economy grow.

One way to get there is to “right-size” the Forest Service road system. We don’t need and can’t afford almost 3,000 miles of roads in Mt. Hood. This year the agency only had enough money to maintain 15.8% of those miles. That means some important roads, like the one to Burnt Lake trailhead in the Old Maid area, are in poor shape because they don’t get the maintenance they need. A smaller, but well maintained road system will reduce the environmental impacts of roads and let the agency invest in the roads that are really needed. That's what the current Travel Analysis Process (TAP) is all about - which roads are needed, which can we afford, and which ones are no longer needed?

On some National Forests in the PNW Nature has “closed” roads by washing out big culverts during rain-on-snow flood events. Some of those unplanned “closures” have made it hard for hikers to get to trailheads. And the USFS often doesn’t have the money for big, expensive repair projects. In Mt. Hood NF alone the agency has a deferred road maintenance backlog of almost $52 million. FYI – money to decommission roads is a separate funding stream, from Congress, so it doesn’t compete with local budgets for road maintenance.

Some unneeded roads have the potential to be converted into trails thus increasing opportunities for trail users while reducing the impact of roads on nearby salmon streams. The successful conversion of a gravel section of the Salmon River road to extend the Salmon Butte Trail (#791) is a nice example of what can be done. That project got rid of the cherry-stem road that gave the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness boundary an odd, keyhole shape because it had to be drawn to exclude the old logging road.

Bark helped make that conversion happen and is looking for places where deteriorating roads can become new trails in other parts of the forest. It would be awesome to have your help with this.

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retired jerry
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by retired jerry » October 31st, 2014, 12:00 pm

"they" removed the road that went by Riley Campground up and around towards Horseshoe Ridge Trail.

I used to walk that in the winter.

They wasted a huge amount of money in my opinion.

They could have just removed culverts or whatever was at risk of causing harmful erosion.

raven
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by raven » October 31st, 2014, 9:35 pm

Isn't the idea of removing a road that the underground biota can be reestablished and a more natural form of forest regeneration occur? I've assumed so, but haven't read or heard what the logic used by planners actually is. It's relevant to this discussion. Anyone know?

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retired jerry
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by retired jerry » November 1st, 2014, 5:18 am

Maybe the road they remove is 20 feet wide? Small percentage of total forest. Although maybe not that difficult to "rough up" the surface to help re-establish. I think it helps big animals like deer to have a route they can follow to get from point A to B.

RobFromRedland
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by RobFromRedland » November 1st, 2014, 5:58 am

I've always thought the purpose of "decommissioning" a road was to remove/reduce the soil compaction so that new plant life will grow easier in the old road bed. The roads I've been on that have been decommissioned certainly seem to attract new growth a lot better than roads that have not been decommissioned.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

mkrochta
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mkrochta » November 1st, 2014, 6:20 pm

raven wrote:Isn't the idea of removing a road that the underground biota can be reestablished and a more natural form of forest regeneration occur? I've assumed so, but haven't read or heard what the logic used by planners actually is. It's relevant to this discussion. Anyone know?
While regeneration is a goal of road decommissioning, the most significant reasoning behind doing this kind of thing is reducing impacts to water quality and fish. Many spur roads in the forest were built very hastily long ago to access timber, and weren't meant to be left open as long as they have been. De-compacting the roadbed helps water percolate down into the soil, instead of collect and wash sediment into nearby streams, causing culverts to blow out, or even contributing to landslides.

And while a road may only be 20 feet wide, in MHNF there are roughly 3,000 miles of these roads, and its been well agreed on in the science and forest management community that these 20 foot wide roads pose the most significant threat to water quality and soils in the forest.

Along with this, the majority of forest wildlife are hindered by roads, since they can fragment their habitat connectivity significantly. And lastly, decommissioning un-needed spur roads can deter damaging illegal activity in sensitive areas (off-roading, trash-dumping, etc.). That said, obviously some roads have less problems than others, which is one reason the USFS is looking for public input right now, so they can begin to pull this information together with help from a variety of forest users.

Great discussion!

greenjello85
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by greenjello85 » November 1st, 2014, 11:28 pm

mkrochta wrote: While regeneration is a goal of road decommissioning, the most significant reasoning behind doing this kind of thing is reducing impacts to water quality and fish. Many spur roads in the forest were built very hastily long ago to access timber, and weren't meant to be left open as long as they have been. De-compacting the roadbed helps water percolate down into the soil, instead of collect and wash sediment into nearby streams, causing culverts to blow out, or even contributing to landslides.

And while a road may only be 20 feet wide, in MHNF there are roughly 3,000 miles of these roads, and its been well agreed on in the science and forest management community that these 20 foot wide roads pose the most significant threat to water quality and soils in the forest.

Along with this, the majority of forest wildlife are hindered by roads, since they can fragment their habitat connectivity significantly.
I think the amount of resources needed to fully decommission a road could be better used in other areas. Over time the road bed would be broken up anyways. Not that high sediment levels are really an issue in this area to begin with. I would be shocked if any studies found that the turbidity of the collawash is hindering fish levels.

I don't really believe that any of the roads being proposed for removal, pose any real barrier to wildlife. They are gravel roads that see almost no traffic.

I do agree with your point that removing spur roads will help limit illegal activities though. But again this could be accomplished by blocking the entrances to these roads rathering than spending a huge amount of resources breaking apart the road surface.

mkrochta
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mkrochta » November 2nd, 2014, 7:40 am

greenjello85 wrote:
mkrochta wrote: While regeneration is a goal of road decommissioning, the most significant reasoning behind doing this kind of thing is reducing impacts to water quality and fish. Many spur roads in the forest were built very hastily long ago to access timber, and weren't meant to be left open as long as they have been. De-compacting the roadbed helps water percolate down into the soil, instead of collect and wash sediment into nearby streams, causing culverts to blow out, or even contributing to landslides.

And while a road may only be 20 feet wide, in MHNF there are roughly 3,000 miles of these roads, and its been well agreed on in the science and forest management community that these 20 foot wide roads pose the most significant threat to water quality and soils in the forest.

Along with this, the majority of forest wildlife are hindered by roads, since they can fragment their habitat connectivity significantly.
I think the amount of resources needed to fully decommission a road could be better used in other areas. Over time the road bed would be broken up anyways. Not that high sediment levels are really an issue in this area to begin with. I would be shocked if any studies found that the turbidity of the collawash is hindering fish levels.

I don't really believe that any of the roads being proposed for removal, pose any real barrier to wildlife. They are gravel roads that see almost no traffic.

I do agree with your point that removing spur roads will help limit illegal activities though. But again this could be accomplished by blocking the entrances to these roads rathering than spending a huge amount of resources breaking apart the road surface.
From the USFS Collawash Watershed Analysis:
"Turbidity levels in the Collawash are consistently higher and persist longer when compared to any other streams in the Clackamas."

“Currently, there is a greater amount of sediment production and delivery sites than what existed under the reference sediment regime. Many upland forested sites that were not sediment sources in the past are now sites of chronic production; most can be directly attributed to roads” (3-8).

The attached photo shows the confluence of the Collawash and Clackamas Rivers during the wet season.
Note the color differences between the water coming from the Collawash (far) and the Clackamas (near).

As for fish, it's been well agreed-upon for at least 20 years that sediment has been one of the leading causes in unstable and declining fish populations in forests.

Glad these topics are getting some thoughtful discussion. It's true, money spent on roads COULD get spent elsewhere, but for now the USFS is struggling with the amount of road-related issues at hand; that's why they sometimes cut their losses and remove roads - so they can help ensure that later, these funds that would be spent on repairs and maintenance can be spent on other valuable things.
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Koda
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by Koda » November 2nd, 2014, 10:12 am

mkrochta wrote:Along with this, the majority of forest wildlife are hindered by roads, since they can fragment their habitat connectivity significantly.
How do forest roads fragment habitat connectivity? (honest question, not critique...) I've never heard of this, wildlife cross roads easily they just walk across. Is this about human access to more habitat? If so, that would be a different topic.
mkrochta wrote:So I wanted to post this map (http://www.bark-out.org/content/collawa ... r-road-map) I am working on of the Collawash watershed in MHNF to see if folks had any feedback on access needs, particularly hiking, dispersed camping and other quiet recreation. Focus on the roads that are black - do these roads still allow access to the places you enjoy, or are these places only accessed by the red ones?
(emphasis mine)

I'm curious what Bark is doing to reach out to all other forest user groups and which groups have you solicited feedback from? The proposed 'red' roads impact hikers the least...

here's my take on the topic, I do generally support closing Tertiary roads for wildlife habitat, but not all. Tertiary roads do provide many recreational opportunities for dispersed camping (especially during hunting season), hunting, fishing, lawful and safe target shooting (well away from high use areas, think about it...), mushroom/berry picking. All of these activities I participate in yearly at the end of many tertiary roads. When I look at your proposal map I see everything but primary and secondary roads closed thus concentrating all of those appropriate recreational opportunities confined to a very restricted area of high use access, not good in my book. What is Bark doing to support those recreational activities?
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