(BEDFORD) - The U.S. Forest Service is beginning a study of the road system on the Hoosier National Forest and wants to know which national forest roads are important to visitors and why.
"The Forest Service is committed to balancing the needs for public access to the Hoosier National Forest with our responsibility to sustain a productive, diverse and healthy national forest," said Forest Supervisor Melany Glossa.
Every national forest will complete the study by 2015. The study will analyze all the system roads on the Forest for their existing use and characteristics, need for management activities and public access, benefits, environmental risks, and maintenance costs.
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 health. They can increase sedimentation into rivers and streams, degrading water quality and impacting fish and wildlife.
"The road study will begin to help us prioritize our limited resources to manage roads used by visitors, while better protecting sources of clean water and a more healthy forest," said Glossa.
Nearly everyone who uses the national forest will be affected by possible future road management decisions, making it important to work together to identify a sustainable road system. The Forest Service will consider comments from the public, in addition to analyzing agency needs for access to manage the forest. Criteria under consideration include analyzing each road's benefit, potential risks to visitor safety and forest health, and agency costs to manage. The road study is not a decision, but is intended to help inform possible 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 interested in viewing maps of roads on the Hoosier National Forest or provide input may schedule time to come to the office. Hardcopy maps and comment forms can be made available for review at either the Hoosier National Forest Office in Bedford or in Tell City, Indiana. To schedule a time to view the maps please call Judi Perez, Project Team Leader toll free at (866) 302-4173, or send an email to
email@example.com. If sending an email please put "Travel Management" in the subject line.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service is an agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as such is part of the federal government's executive branch. The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land and is the largest forestry research organization in the world.
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