Anda di halaman 1dari 24

Winter Solstice 2003.

Volume 8 # 4 The Quarterly Newsletter of Wildlands CPR

Hells Canyon 1993-2003

Minds and
By Mary O’Brien

— See article on page 3 —

Hells Canyon 1993-2003, by Mary Field Notes, Road Decommissioning,
O’Brien. Pages 3-5 by Ryan Schaffer. Pages 14-15
A Non-Traditional Alliance, by Kiffin Biblio Notes: Roads in Developing
Hope. Pages 6-7 Countries, by Carrie Brunger.
Pages 16-18
Odes to Roads: Circumventing
Paradise, by Aaron Drendel. Regional Reports & Updates. Page 19
Pages 8-9
Get with the Program: Restoration,
Depaving the Way, by Bethanie Transportation & Science
Walder. Pages 10-11 Program Updates. Pages 20-21
Activist Spotlight: Andrew Harvey, by Around the Office, Membership info.
Kiffin Hope. Pages 12-13 Pages 22-23

The Imnaha River flows toward the Snake deep within Hells Canyon.
Check out our website at: Photo by Marnie Criley.

P.O. Box 7516

by Bethanie Walder Missoula, MT 59807
(406) 543-9551

his fall I had an opportunity to see how our European counterparts approach
road and wildlife issues. In a region where road densities can reach 4.3 km/km2,
mitigating road impacts is critical in both wildland and urban settings. Most of
Wildlands CPR works to protect and restore
western Europe is so developed that what natural areas do exist are small, isolated in a wildland ecosystems by preventing and
sea of houses, farms, villages, and cities. I learned that while removing roads in Europe removing roads and limiting motorized
is rare, efforts to address road impacts are greater than those in the United States. recreation. We are a national clearinghouse and
network, providing citizens with tools and
I attended a conference hosted by the Infra Eco Network Europe (IENE), which has strategies to fight road construction, deter
been working with sixteen countries over five years to research transportation mitiga- motorized recreation, and promote road
tion for wildlife. In these countries, more than 130 overpasses have been constructed to removal and revegetation.
provide safe wildlife crossings (sometimes combined wildlife/human crossings). The
Netherlands alone has over 500 wildlife and amphibian tunnels, half a dozen overpasses Bethanie Walder
and numerous other mitigation projects. The goal is maintaining viable wildlife popula-
tions where much of the habitat has been destroyed. But many southwestern and Development Director
eastern European countries still contain bears, elk, wolves and other large fauna. With Tom Petersen
many new countries joining the European Union, there will be a surge in road construc-
tion and development; it was encouraging to see many of these countries represented at Restoration Program
the meeting. And while Wildlands CPR has always advocated restoration over mitiga- Coordinator
tion, the conference was an opportunity to share ideas about integrating the two. Marnie Criley

The biggest lesson I took away was how important it is to have agencies advocating Science Coordinator
for road mitigation — transportation ministries were well-represented at the meeting. Adam Switalski
On a field tour we learned that a recently completed wildlife overpass in the Nether-
lands was developed and promoted entirely by the Ministry of Transportation, while the Transportation Policy
Ministry of Nature had little to do with it. It’s hard to imagine the U.S. Department of Organizer
Transportation promoting a wildlife crossing that wasn’t initiated by the local community. Jason Kiely

NTWC Grassroots
Here at home, the U.S. Congress is debating the next six-year highway spending bill
(nicknamed TEA-3), and Wildlands CPR is concerned about several aspects of it. First, Coordinator
the Bush Administration is using it to undermine the National Environmental Policy Act Lisa Philipps
(NEPA); TEA-3 would streamline NEPA such that it would be rendered meaningless. Program Assistant
Congress is also trying to cut enhancements funding from the bill: this is the funding
Kiffin Hope
that pays for bike trails and wildlife mitigation. The forty-four proposed crossing
structures on Highway 93 near Missoula, Montana for example, could get axed if the Newsletter
enhancements money disappears; so could many bike/pedestrian programs in cities and
Dan Funsch & Jim Coefield
towns throughout the country.
Interns & Volunteers
The transportation bill also funds several programs that affect public lands. One is
Carla Abrams, Ronni Flannery, Hank Green,
the Public Lands Highways Program, which channels about $250 million per year into Maureen Hartmann, Beth Peluso
upgrading public lands roads into highways. On national forest lands, for example, this
money funds the Forest Highways Program. On top of this, the Forest Service is asking Board of Directors
the Federal Highway Administration for several hundred million dollars per year to Karen Wood DiBari, Greg Fishbein, Dave Havlick,
upgrade at least 60,000 miles of other high use forest roads. Our final concern is the Greg Munther, Cara Nelson, Sonya Newenhouse,
continued funding of the Recreational Trails Program, which supports both motorized Mary O'Brien, Matt Skroch, Ted Zukoski
and non-motorized trail developments on public lands.
Advisory Committee
It is amazing how much we can learn from European transportation activists, Jasper Carlton, Dave Foreman,
researchers and even agency employees in terms of developing more ecologically Keith Hammer, Timothy Hermach,
Marion Hourdequin, Kraig Klungness, Lorin
friendly transportation systems. It’s even more amazing how far behind we are in Lindner, Andy Mahler, Robert McConnell,
designing roads with fewer impacts. In many cases, western European nations made Stephanie Mills, Reed Noss,
changes because they had no other choice: natural areas are fragmented practically Michael Soulé, Steve Trombulak, Louisa Willcox,
beyond recognition, human population densities are extremely high (e.g. 450 people/km2 Bill Willers, Howie Wolke
in the Netherlands), and the wildlife have all but disappeared. Perhaps we can learn
© 2003 Wildlands CPR
some lessons from our European friends before we come to the same breaking point.

2 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

Hells Canyon 1993-2003
How NEPA Changed Minds and Management
By Mary O’Brien

t took ten years, but on July 22, 2003, the
managers of the Wallowa-Whitman National
Forest (W-WNF) showed they hold a deeper
appreciation and understanding of Hells Canyon
than they did in September 1993.

You wouldn’t think it would take a decade to

finally express protectiveness toward what may be
the deepest river-cut canyon in North America
(Kings Canyon in California may be just as deep).
Or to commit to preservation of the spectacular
native bunchgrass lands that survive on the
canyon’s plunging walls, when nearly all native
grasslands in the West have been destroyed. You
wouldn’t think it would take a decade to acknowl-
edge that vehicles and livestock running willy-nilly
on slopes, in meadows, and across streams might
not be compatible with the canyon’s salmon
streams and rare plants. But it did, and the steps it When perserverance pays off — a ten year investment in public process by
took to bring about this change are worth repeating conservationists resulted in a new Forest Service management plan that
on public lands throughout the world. protects natural values in Hells Canyon. Photo by Marnie Criley.

A bit of background
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
(HCNRA) sprawls its 652,000 acres across three
national forests in northeastern Oregon and roads closed unless posted open; withdrawing the historic permis-
western Idaho. Administered by the W-WNF in sion to drive stock trucks, RVs, pickups and ATVs 300 feet out from
Oregon, the HCNRA surrounds and includes 67 either side of every open road; and limiting the canyon’s 55 roaded
miles of Wild and Scenic-status Snake River and the subwatersheds to no more than 1.35 road miles per square mile of
214,000-acre Hells Canyon Wilderness. It starts low land (many have less). In addition, her decision abolished one-
with desert-like conditions at the Snake River, quarter million acres of livestock allotments, transforming them into
climbs up through grassy slopes and forested protected native grasslands. (These livestock allotments did not
crevices, levels out on benches and plateaus of have current permitees, but earlier plans had been to expand adja-
forest and meadow, and finally rises into the cent allotments to include parts of these so-called “vacant” allot-
rarified alpine ecosystems of Idaho’s Seven Devils ments.)

When, in September 1993, W-WNF Supervisor

Bob Richmond grudgingly agreed to revise the
What led to this Record of Decision?
original (1982) HCNRA Comprehensive Manage-
ment Plan (CMP), he clearly intended to uphold 1. Legislation that requires human activities to be compatible with
“Good Old Boy Business As Usual:” Road and the long-term health of HCNRA ecosystems.
motorized developments, off-road travel, logging,
and cattle and sheep grazing. But ten years later, The 1975 HCNRA Act1 states that human activities such as
W-WNF Supervisor Karyn Wood’s Record of logging, grazing, mining, and recreation are allowed in Hells Canyon
Decision for the new CMP included eliminating one- to the degree they are compatible with wildlife habitat, rare and
third of the roads; closing three key canyon-edge endemic plants, free-flowing rivers, cultural artifacts, and outstanding
and ridge-top roads throughout the fall hunting ecosystems and parts of ecosystems.2 Anything less than this commit-
season, winter and spring; designating all other ment allows degradation and destruction of public ecosystems.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 3

How NEPA Changed Minds
and Management
— continued from page 3 —

2. The National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA’s) requirement

that “a full range of reasonable alternatives” be “rigorously
explore[d] and objectively evaluate[d]”3 in environmental impact
statements (EISs) for any federal decisions that may significantly
affect the environment. The new CMP favors primitive experiences over roaded
recreation. Photo by Scott Stouder.
There is no wiser law than one that requires consideration of a
full range of alternatives. The NEPA regulations state that consider-
ation of alternatives is “the heart of the environmental impact
statement.” After all, the only way we’ll stop destroying the earth is to
significance of each of the documents. We did this
consider (and implement) alternatives to the way we’re behaving,
because NEPA requires agencies to insure the
e.g., our proliferation of roads and off-road vehicles.
“scientific integrity” of their EIS discussions and
analyses. NEPA regulation 1502.24 requires
3. Drafting by citizens and scientists of a reasonable alternative. agencies to “identify any methodologies used
and...make explicit reference by footnote to the
In January 1994, ten people representing two tribes; eight scientific and other sources relied upon for
national, regional, state, and local conservation organizations conclusions in the [EIS].”
(including Wildlands CPR); a state hunting organization; and two
individual experts, joined together as the Hells Canyon CMP Tracking 5. Having a responsive U.S. Forest Service and
Group. We notified the Wallowa-Whitman NF that we were going to
a responsive public.
write an ecosystem-based alternative to be considered in the upcom-
ing Draft EIS for the HCNRA CMP. The Tracking Group met for a three-
In February 1996 the first Draft EIS (DEIS) was
day marathon to begin drafting our alternative, and I agreed to
released, but with no Native Ecosystem Alternative.
facilitate pulling together the disparate pieces into one comprehen-
The W-WNF gave bogus reasons for not including it;
sive alternative. We named our alternative what it is: the Native
but an appeal to the Regional Forester brought no
Ecosystem Alternative. (We figured that calling it a “Citizens’ Alterna-
help. Karyn Wood became W-WNF’s Supervisor in
tive” (1) would marginalize the alternative; and (2) didn’t describe the
1997, but she didn’t want to dump two years’ DEIS
work. Six days before the Final EIS was to go to the
printer, I met with a number of then-Chief Mike
Dombeck’s Forest Service staff in Washington DC
and a member of the Council on Environmental
Quality, the executive branch office that oversees
compliance with NEPA. That afternoon the Forest
Service notified Karyn Wood that the DEIS should
have included the Native Ecosystem Alternative
because it was both reasonable and different from
W-WNF alternatives. Supervisor Wood agreed to
start all over with a new DEIS.

In December 1999, the second DEIS was

released. It included our alternative and a new one
by the Wallowa County Commissioners, but W-
The canyon bottoms give rise to forested slopes. WNF’s preferred alternative remained largely
Photo by Marnie Criley. unprotective of Hells Canyon. Citizens sent in over
2,000 public comments, with most written com-
ments expressing preference for the Native Ecosys-
tem Alternative. The Nez Perce Tribe prepared and
4. Backing the alternative with scientific evidence. submitted a science-based paper on the impor-
tance of roadless ridges for elk, mule deer and
When we submitted the Native Ecosystem Alternative to the W- bighorn sheep. The W-WNF undertook further
WNF, we also submitted hard copies of 116 scientific documents that analysis of Hells Canyon conditions in light of
provided evidence we believed the W-WNF needed to use when substantive comments.
analyzing all alternatives in the Draft EIS. In addition, we supplied a
60-page bibliography summarizing the main findings, relevance, and

4 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

Some Positive Provisions
of the New
Hells Canyon CMP
• The HCNRA will be managed as a
“healthy ecosystem that is an integral
component of a larger biological
The Hells Canyon NRA is home to the nation’s largest herd region... an area of high biological
of bighorn sheep. Photo by Marnie Criley.
diversity and endemism.” Management
will “...ensure that maintenance and/or
restoration of ecological function and
sustainability of species, habitats, and
On July 22, 2003, Supervisor Wood and her interdisciplinary team ecosystems ... contribute to its biologi-
released the Final EIS and her surprising Record of Decision. Roads cal uniqueness.”
and off-road travel and livestock were all finally recognized as entities
to be circumscribed and limited, not simply defended, so that Hells
Canyon could be afforded a fighting chance to survive motorized • Over 245,000 acres of currently
recreation, commodity extraction, and the invasive species they bring vacant livestock allotments will be
in their wake. closed to future livestock grazing and
instead managed for biodiversity and
This account doesn’t begin to describe the countless Tracking native plant values, bringing the total
Group drafts, meetings, and ongoing communication with the W-WNF livestock-free area within the HCNRA to
that were required over the years, but anyone who has organized for
around 365,000 acres.
change can imagine. Some might say that a ten-year process shows
that NEPA “doesn’t work.” I believe this account shows precisely the
opposite: that NEPA does work. NEPA sets the stage through its • Road density will be reduced to 1.35
alternatives assessment process for the possibility of long-term, miles per square mile, resulting in the
fundamental changes. Such change doesn’t happen in a year, but it’s closure of approximately one third of
what brings real wins for the earth. existing HCNRA roads (about 200
miles). ATVs will be limited to “desig-
nated open roads and trails,” with no
— Mary O’Brien (Ph.D., Botany), is a member of Wildlands CPR’s Board
cross-country use permitted.
of Directors. She is currently working with a Utah coalition to write a
Sustainable Multiple Use Alternative for the upcoming Fishlake, Dixie,
and Manti-LaSal Forest Plans. • Forests will be allowed “to function in a
nearly natural manner” through the use
of natural fire, prescribed fire, and
vegetation projects aimed at restoring
FOOTNOTES “viable and healthy ecosystems.”
Wildfire will “resume a more natural
1. Public Law 94-199, December
31, 1975. role” and is recognized as an essential
part of the health of Hells Canyon.
2. Section 7, HCNRA Act.
• The CMP emphasizes “maintenance of
3. Section 1502.14 of NEPA the rustic and primitive character of the
Regulations, 40 Code of HCNRA,” and “favors primitive and
Federal Regulations Parts
semi-primitive experiences over roaded
1500-1508 (1992). If you’ve
never read the crystal-clear, natural and rural experiences.”
plain-language NEPA
regulations, do so. And • Prevention is recognized as a critical
defend them, because part of invasive species (weed) man-
they’re under attack by the agement, including “closure or restric-
Bush Administration. About 200 miles of roads, or one-third
of the area’s total, will be closed under tions on use where appropriate.”
the new plan. Photo by Marnie Criley.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 5

A Non-Traditional Alliance & the Economics
of Obliteration Editor’s Note: While the Forest Service’s recently proposed
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest management plan is surrounded
By Kiffin Hope by controversy, Wildlands CPR reports on a success story from this same
forest in the face of the present policy storm.

uring the final days of work on Volkswagen), and plant debris that had presence of Joe Harper, a wildlife
the Watershed Property road been pushed aside to build the road biologist with the Pintler Ranger
removal project, Bob Clark of had now been dragged back onto the District. Joe, who monitored the entire
the Sierra Club’s Missoula, MT office decompacted road surface, effectively project, said “This project feels better
and I set off to visit the site. Although preventing any illegal off-road vehicle than any other I’ve been associated
the weather was only mildly cool when access while creating a foothold for with in 26 years of agency work.”
we left Missoula on Halloween morn- native plant repopulation.
ing, deep winter cold had set in at the That this otherwise non-traditional
project’s 8000-foot location and several This project was unique and ideal alliance worked is no surprise to
inches of snow were on the ground. in its bringing together of conservation Wildlands CPR. In our Summary Report
groups, local workers, a private timber “Investing in Communities, Investing in
Consisting of approximately 32,500 company, and a government agency. the Land,” published earlier this year
acres of land bordered on three sides The Montana Chapter of the Sierra in association with The Center for
by roadless country, the Watershed Club funded the much needed road Environmental Economic Development
Property was acquired this past obliteration, while Wildlands CPR (CEED), research indicates that
summer through a cooperative effort acted as project consultant and concurrent with the great need for
between the Rocky Mountain Elk contracted a locally-based company, road removal within U.S. national
Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, John Grosvold Logging & Excavating, forests, there exists an opportunity to
and a private timber company. The to complete the actual work. Further, invigorate local economies with road
area is situated along the north slope the Forest Service provided the on-site removal work. Roadwork requiring
of the Continental Divide within the
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest,
just west of Anaconda, MT. Although
the property is heavily roaded and
logged, the area remains an integral
avenue in the biological corridor
between the Anaconda-Pintler Wilder-
ness and the Flint Creek range to the
north. An impressive array of animals
are known, in fact, to frequent the area,
including moose, bighorn sheep,
mountain goat, lynx, mountain lion,
wolverine, and elk. The beautiful Twin
Lakes and Twin Lakes Creek, less than
a quarter mile hike from the project
site, are home to threatened westslope
cutthroat trout and bull trout.

The project itself consisted of

more than 13,000 feet of road oblitera-
tion and the removal of three culverts
within a 640 acre parcel of the total
Watershed Property acreage. A new
foot trail was created along one side of
much of the obliterated road, replacing
a section of the original Twin Lakes
trail, which washes out each spring
during meltoff. As we inspected the Bob Clark of the Sierra Club (left), and Kiffin Hope of Wildlands CPR
(center) discuss the project with Dan Stevenson of John Grosvold
work that particular day, we were
Logging & Excavating. Photo by Jolanta Glabek.
impressed with the progress. Downed
trees, boulders (one the size of a

6 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

“This project feels better than any
other I’ve been associated with in
26 years of agency work.”

– Joe Harper, Wildlife Biologist,

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

The obliterated road with new trail on right.

Photo by Kiffin Hope.

heavy equipment tends to be locally- communities. Dan, whose career has scheduled to start and finish in 2004.
based, and offers local contracting mostly consisted of resource extrac- Bob Clark notes that, “The project
companies — such as John Grosvold tion work, was excited at the prospect accomplishes a primary management
Logging & Excavating, its operators of more road removal projects in the objective for the Forest Service but
and support crews — an opportunity Beaverhead-Deerlodge. He said, perhaps more importantly, the process
to generate income and pay business “There’s more than seventy miles of itself helps illustrate how conserva-
expenses. It also improves community road around here that I know of that tion groups, local economic interests,
water supplies and forest health, and the Forest Service wants to remove. I’d and government agencies can work
enhances hunting, fishing, and other be happy just to have a fraction of that together to accomplish shared goals.”
backcountry recreation opportunities. work.” Dan’s sentiment is not unusual.
In fact, numerous contractors and Amen to that.
While at the project site I spoke at operators we’ve met with — after years
length with Dan Stevenson, a tractor of building roads and laying culverts in — Kiffin Hope is Wildlands CPR’s new
operator for John Grosvold. Despite national forests — would be happy to Program Assistant.
the cold and snowy conditions he was do work that benefits the local ecology
happy to be working, particularly so and economy.
close to home. In addition to discuss- The Summary Report “Investing in
ing the project at hand, I told Dan The road obliteration and trail Communities, Investing in the Land” can
about Wildlands CPR’s grassroots work work for the Watershed Property be downloaded from the Wildlands CPR
and its research regarding road project was completed on November 4, website. Go to:
removal and its benefits to local 2003. Proposed revegetation efforts are WCPRpdfs/NEWECOSummary_Report.pdf

Removing an old culvert from the project

area. Photo by David Forestieri.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 7

Circumventing Paradise
By Aaron Drendel

tanding like a tiny figurine in an infinitely large Buddhist land-
scape painting, I somehow am missing the wonder of nature’s
magic. General Sherman looms over me in the Giant Forest,
probably weighing more than 3 million pounds and standing taller
than the two largest buildings from my home state, Wyoming, stacked
upon each other. I gaze up its gargantuan column and cock my head
to stare at a branch bigger than most trees east of the Mississippi, An unnamed beauty in the Giant
growing over 150 feet off the ground. This giant sequoia sprung from Forest. Photo by Aaron Drendel.
the earth before Jesus, and it is still barely an old man.

In the two millennia or so that General Sherman has been rooted

in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, many changes have taken place.
Hundreds of fires have crisped the duff beneath the tree, leaving fragment of our silver dusted rolls of film. A little
black wounds streaking its red bark. Various tribes have come and girl strangles my crowded space, perhaps experi-
gone from under its canopy, and some species have left entirely, such encing Sequoia National Park for her first time. She
as the grizzly. If given eyes though, General Sherman might have seen asks her father, “Daddy, can we go stand by it?” But
the most dramatic change in 1903. It wasn’t the year a ferocious fire the fence defers her dream, confining her to the
charred the Giant Forest, it was the year that a road finally laid the paved walkway connected to the paved parking lot
path to nearby Round Meadow. Soon thereafter, the hustle and bustle connected to a network of pavement more vast
of modern tourism followed: cabins, offices, stores, and more pave- than any other in the universe, extending from the
ment. Arctic to La Tierra del Fuego, from New York to LA.
Instead of discovering laws of nature, laws of man
Today a sign mounted in the asphalt beneath the largest general dictate her. If only her father knew about the
of them all, the largest creature of them all, outlines the trivial details sequoias beyond the pavement, about the universe
of General Sherman’s life. The statistics supplement a very brief stop beyond the pavement. Giants that you can hug.
along the highway, perhaps adding something concrete to peoples’
memory and reaffirming why this giant sequoia is worthy for a Many visitors at Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks don’t free themselves from the
asphalt and visit the other 90% of the parks, the
legislatively designated Sequoia-Kings Canyon
Wilderness. The trend at most National Parks
involves more and more lazy drives in the park,
scenic byways circumventing hidden treasures, and
romantic excursions winding into irksome traffic
jams. Modern vacations are getting shorter, and
congested highways equal less time for more stops.
When overheated cars and broken-down passen-
gers finally roll into a jammed parking lot, they are
dismayed to find big city crowds and sidewalks
leading them through “nature.” Take this little girl
standing next to me. She might grow up knowing
nature as a crowded walkway with rustic signs, a
passing view from the window of her dad’s car. But
the window will never roll down all the way
because of the child safety feature. Like viewing
animals at a zoo, she will never be part of the
exhibit. A pane of glass separates her from the
Aaron and Krista Drendel, certified tree-huggers. Photo by Aaron Drendel. reality that we are all creatures in the same

8 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

It is time that we bring wilderness back into the National Parks.
Our nation’s drive-thru parks mimic theme parks rather than an area
protected to leave the resource unimpaired for future generations, as
the Organic Act specifies. Our children aren’t learning about the
majestic nature that we are a part of, they are learning the nature that
we are apart from, separated by fences and seatbelts, told by signs
what to think, led by railings when we walk, and confined to out-
houses when we piss. If one doesn’t find shimmering stars and
flickering fires enough for evening entertainment in Yosemite Valley,
they can rent a movie at the Village, insert it in the RV’s DVD player,
and return to Hollywood.

Perhaps aspects of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

could serve as a model for other parks. Obviously, roads have
become ingrained in the parks, but maybe we have gone overboard
and should consider restoring some areas and looking to alternatives.
There is no freedom involved in idling behind a line of vehicles
stopped to watch a distant beaver in a pond silenced by the car’s
radio. Light rail systems in our busiest parks would create more
opportunities to get out of the car and hear the thwack of the
beaver’s tail as it brings the pond to life. Transit time would be
reduced, and more time to immerse in the great outdoors would be a
benefit for all. People would no longer need to worry about bears
breaking into cars, overheated radiators on treacherous highways, or
even where they begin or end a hike. We could even replace RV
spaces with Walden Pond style cabins, just large enough to goad them
outside to discover why they left the city in the first place. The
greatest beneficiaries would be those who live there of course, the
voiceless. By assaulting Mother Nature with our comforts rather than Fire scars reveal a glimpse into the forest’s history.
embracing her wild harmony, we forget that we too are animals. We Photo by Aaron Drendel.
might find that road closures will open new worlds, put our feet in
contact with the ground, and put our souls in touch with our past, because I am a bona fide tree hugger having an
present, and hopefully our future. affair with a lonely old sequoiadendron giganteum.
Boole has been in this forest for some 2000 years.
Today as I beat my way through the foot traffic surrounding His community was once the largest grove of giant
General Sherman, my sneakers squeak on the blacktop as I bob and sequoias on the earth, at least the largest since we
weave towards the parking lot. I begin to daydream of putting my have kept track of time. He watched loggers hack
arms around the Boole Tree, which stands off the beaten path his friends down early in the 20th century, but the
between General Sherman and the Kings Canyon. Nothing divides us. pillagers left him standing, standing alone among
My arms do not even reach his ankles. His bark is spongy and more the largest stumps on earth. Then, they named the
than 2 feet thick. The California sun has radiated off the tree’s auburn forlorn giant after the man who sent the tree’s
bark for the entire day, transferring ancient warmth into me. I open friends down to the mill, “Frank Boole.” They
my arms to his soft flesh, and he stands indifferent to my affection. I, tacked a sign up honoring the biped Frank Boole, a
alone with Boole, am blushing a rosy red matching his bark, blushing man who helped turn the most awe striking trees
on earth into millions of shingles and fence posts.
Finally, they hosted square dances on the sur-
rounding decapitated stumps, celebrating as Boole
the tree mourned. Accordingly the last century has
been torment for this ancient specimen, but at
least today, the Boole Tree has no pavement
smothering his roots.

— Aaron Drendel is currently working on a master’s

degree in environmental writing at the University of
Montana. He has worked as a naturalist ranger at
Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada
and Glen Canyon NRA. Aaron spent two years
working on various grassroots environmental
projects in the Dominican Republic while serving as
a Peace Corps volunteer. Though a former ranger, his
A mule deer forages within Redwood Canyon, among the giants.
views should in no way be confused with current NPS
Photo by Aaron Drendel.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 9

Be Careful What You Ask For:
FS Revs Up for New ORV Rules
By Bethanie Walder

n December 1999, Wildlands CPR and more than from their treatment of snowmobiles in
100 other groups asked the Forest Service (FS) Yellowstone National Park, it is clear that they are
to rewrite their regulations regarding off-road more fond of motorized recreation than non-
vehicles. At the time, the agency said they had too motorized recreation.
much on their plate — they were swamped trying
to finish the roadless rule, rewrite the National Following in the tradition of other recent
Forest Management Act regulations and finish agency rule changes, our understanding from the
many other big projects. As they put it, their FS is that they have little intent to conduct public
wheelbarrow was not only full, but overflowing. meetings or collect public comment until after they
have figured out exactly what they want the new
This fall we learned that they’ve finally light- rules to say. Our intent, on the other hand, is to
ened their load enough to make room for this issue. ensure they hear what the public thinks about this
The FS recently announced that they will overhaul process before it is a done deal, and that the rule
their regulations for off-road vehicles, most of change provides a real opportunity for meaningful
which are found in the FS Code of Federal Regula- reform.
tions (CFR) at 36CFR295 and 36CFR261. These
regulations derive from two executive orders (EO A couple years ago, FS Chief Dale Bosworth
11644, EO 11989) that control off-road vehicles on presided over the largest off-road vehicle regula-
all public lands; each land management agency tory reform to date — on twenty-six national
developed regulations to implement these execu- forests and three Bureau of Land Management
tive orders (originally enacted by President Nixon (BLM) areas in Montana, North Dakota and South
in 1972 and strengthened by President Carter in Dakota. This process resulted in NO real change on
Wildlands CPR 1977). The FS is the only agency that has an- the ground and the continued expansion of ren-
file photo.
nounced a national regulatory change. egade routes throughout the reform area. If this
exercise in futility is the model for national reform,
This proposed change is one of many that the the result will only exacerbate the off-road vehicle
Bush Administration has initiated with little public management problems that already exist.
comment or oversight. Rather than attacking rules
head on, this administration is fond of making rule But rather than speculate about what the FS
changes behind closed doors. For example, near might do, it makes more sense to offer some
the same time that we learned about the off-road solutions. When we submitted our 1999 rulemaking
vehicle regulatory change, the administration petition, we scrutinized the regulations and worked
announced that it was changing the rules for with lawyers, conservation biologists and activists
defining streams and wetlands under the Clean to determine what language would make the most
Water Act, effectively reducing protections for a sense from a regulatory perspective. It comes
significant number of wetlands and waterways. We down to several basic issues:
can only speculate what the administration might
do with the off-road vehicle regulations. Judging

This proposed change is one of many that the

Bush Administration has initiated with little
public comment or oversight.

10 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

• Off road vehicle use shall be allowed only
on system roads and routes designated
and posted as open for such use. Cross-
country travel by off-road vehicles shall be

• Route designation shall only occur where

the FS can demonstrate (through an open,
public process), that use of the route will
not cause adverse environmental impacts.

• All route designations, upgrades, etc. shall

be fully analyzed under the National
Environmental Policy Act.

• Off-road vehicle use shall be prohibited

Will the Forest Service’s new ORV regulations address the critical issues of
unless adequate monitoring and enforce-
resource damage and rider responsibility? Or will this process take us around
ment of the use and impacts are fully in circles? Photo by Mark Alan Wilson.
funded and implemented. Resource
management decisions regarding off-road
vehicles must be directly tied to the
agency’s ability to manage those resources
effectively. vehicle users — and that behavior only grows
worse. Without real consequences, off-road vehicle
recreation will continue to be plagued by lawless-
• Off-road vehicle use shall be prohibited in ness. With real consequences — such as perma-
areas such as roadless areas, designated nent closures and loss of recreational access, we
wilderness areas and other wilderness will see off-road vehicle users start patrolling
quality lands, and other areas with themselves.
roadless values.
The FS announcement about their rule-change
These five basic rules would enable the FS to process elicits mixed emotions for people con-
manage off-road vehicle use more effectively and to cerned with off-road vehicle use. The agency is
limit ecological impacts. But these regulatory claiming that they are taking on this process
approaches will have no impact if the FS does not because they must control use before it is out of
have funding for effective off-road vehicle enforce- control. We are trepidatious about the outcome.
ment and monitoring. We recognize that we asked the Forest Service to
undertake just such a process, and we can only
The FS and BLM have given off-road vehicle hope that the safety, ecological and economic
users free reign over public lands. The agencies impacts of off-road vehicle recreation on national
have failed to regulate motorized recreation forest lands will be so profound as to offer no other
effectively, and have almost wholly failed to option but real regulatory reform. Well, at least we
enforce those regulations that do exist. Until local can give them the benefit of the doubt…
and federal lawmakers develop real consequences
for violating off-road vehicle regulations, the
current attitude of lawlessness will continue
throughout the sport.

These consequences could include expensive

fines and the impoundment of vehicles that are
driven in unauthorized places. They could also
include such consequences as permanent closure
of routes where users continuously violate closure
orders. (In other words, if the agencies grant the
privilege to use motorized recreational vehicles on
public land roads/routes, then that privilege comes
with a responsibility to follow the law. If off-road
vehicle users cannot follow the laws, they should
lose their privileges.) This happens in nearly every
other sector of our society, but for some reason we
continue to tolerate illegal behavior by off-road The user-created route around this gate is an example of what has
become a common disregard for ORV rules. Photo by Dan Funsch.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 11

The Activist Spotlight shares the stories of some of
the awesome activists we work with, both as a
tribute to them and as a way of highlighting
successful strategies and lessons learned. Please
email your nomination for the Activist Spotlight to

Spotlight on Andrew Harvey

By Kiffin Hope

tretching for forty miles north-
ward into California from the
Mexico border, the Sonoran
Desert’s Algodones Dunes area is the
oldest dune system in California and
the largest in the U.S. Constantly
shifting sands and extreme dryness
and temperature changes create a
fragile and unique habitat. The 160,000
acre area harbors at least 160 different
animal and plant species, including
many rare, threatened, and endemic
species such as Peirson’s milkvetch,
sand food (an unusual, edible plant),
Algodones Dunes sunflower, desert
tortoise, and nine known endemic
beetle species. High intensity off-road
vehicle use, however, is negatively
impacting the life within this rare
ecosystem, which the California
Wilderness Coalition has designated as
one of California’s ten most endan-
gered wild places. Copyright Andrew M. Harvey 2003

In recent years, the Algodones

have been waylaid upon by as many as
one million off-road enthusiasts
annually. On any given weekend, one
can witness dune buggies, jeeps, all- Biological Diversity.” Given his com- traveling photographic exhibition
terrain vehicles, motorcycles, and pany, Andrew quickly learned that, showcasing images he captured in the
monster trucks driving recklessly upon closer inspection, a delicate and dunes. To date, the Algodones Dunes
across the tenuous landscape. Particu- unusual matrix of life struggles to exist Traveling Exhibit has been seen by an
larly busy holiday weekends in in the harsh desert conditions made estimated 350,000 people in cities from
November 1999, October 2000, and more hostile by off-road vehicle use. Los Angeles and San Diego to Tucson,
November 2001 saw large and unruly With his field experience in the dunes, Phoenix, and El Centro. The exhibit
crowds of off-road vehicle users hitting and the knowledge that the off-road engages visitors in a moving and
the dunes. Much mayhem occurred, friendly Bush administration could memorable visual experience of the
including widespread violence, readily overturn a November 2000 dunes and the plants and animals that
injuries, and several fatalities. court decision that temporarily depend on its delicate ecosystem. The
protected 49,000 acres of the photos graphically document both the
While many conservation groups Algodones from motorized use, the exotic beauty of the dunes and the off-
and individuals have gotten the word time was ripe to tell the saga of the road damage inflicted upon them.
out about the Algodones off-road dunes in a whole new way. Andrew told me, “The objective of this
abuse issue, Los Angeles-based exhibition is to use art as a mechanism
photographer Andrew Harvey has been Teaming up with the Center for for environmental education and
using images. Andrew said, “I got Biological Diversity, Natural Trails & positive change.”
exposed to the dunes in an intimate Water Coalition, Desert Protective
manner during a closure monitoring Council, and the San Diego Sierra Club, Even though it is difficult to
visit with Daniel Patterson and in May 2003 Andrew embarked on a quantify the impact the exhibit has had
Brendan Cummings of the Center for

12 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

on its visitors, Andrew personally
mailed over 120 letters to California’s
senators Diane Feinstein (D) and
Barbara Boxer (D) signed by Los
Angeles attendees alone. Interviews
with Andrew and articles about the
exhibition have been featured in many
area newspapers along the way,
creating interest in the Algodones
Dunes and encouraging individuals to
come and view the photography. The
images captured in Andrew’s
Algodones photographs are so compel-
ling that they are in demand from
newspapers, national publications, and
environmental and lobbying groups,
including the LA Times, Yuma Sun, Copyright Andrew M. Harvey 2003
Back Packer, Earth First! Journal, Sierra
Club, and The Wilderness Society. The
California Wilderness Coalition used
Andrew’s photos both within the
Algodones Dunes feature and on the
back cover of its 2003 “California’s 10
ment. With some luck, additional He’s also working on getting his own
Most Threatened Wild Places.” The
funding, and political support, Andrew non-profit organization, Visual Jour-
images have also been used on
hopes to take the exhibition to Wash- neys, up and running. “Through Visual
numerous web sites and in scientific
ington, D.C. in the near future. He has Journeys I hope to create visual and
and legal documents.
provided Senators Feinstein and Boxer educational exhibits that ignite passion
and Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) and appreciation, and encourage the
It’s obvious that the images are
with photographs, information, and preservation of biological diversity.”
speaking for themselves. I asked
news stories about the Algodones
Andrew how he feels about the
Dunes and has even submitted a formal We wish Andrew much success in
popularity of his Algodones Dunes
request to Filner’s office seeking his endeavors.
images. He said, “I’ve always been an
assistance for a D.C. exhibition.
environmentalist at heart, so it’s
To contact Andrew or to view
gratifying that my photos of the dunes
Recently, Andrew has been images from the Algodones Dunes
are influencing and educating so many
photographing areas in Tejon Ranch Traveling Exhibition, visit
and the Surprise Canyon Wilderness.
In October 2003 a court decision
upheld the temporary protection of the
49,000 acre tract mentioned earlier.
Andrew has some misgivings about
this, however. “Things are very
tentative. The BLM (Bureau of Land
Management) isn’t necessarily going to
make a decision in favor of protecting
the dunes.” In fact, BLM is proposing
opening the protected area to motor-
ized use, even though nearly 70,000
acres (106 square miles) of the
Algodones Dunes are already open to
off-road vehicle use. Andrew neverthe-
less remains confident that groups like
the Center for Biological Diversity,
Sierra Club, and Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility will keep
the pressure on BLM and the courts.

For the time being, Andrew and

the Algodones Dunes Traveling
Exhibition are taking a well-deserved Copyright Andrew M. Harvey 2003
break. With so much moving around,
the photos, frames, and protective
glass are in need of repair or replace-

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 13

National Forest Service Road Decommissioning
An attempt to read through the numbers
By Ryan Schaffer

Road decommissioning has been defined as “the Decommissioning activities employed by the FS include
physical treatment of a roadbed to restore the integrity of reestablishing natural drainage patterns and stream chan-
associated hillslopes, channels, and flood plains and their nels, out-sloping the road surface, scattering debris on the
related hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecological processes roadbed, ripping the soil and planting vegetation on the road
and properties” (Switalski et al. in press). In practical terms, bed, blocking the entrance to a road, and posting closure
decommissioning is a process in which the Forest Service signs. One or more of these activities may be used. The
(FS) determines that a road is no longer needed or desirable common denominator in FS road decommissioning is
and then physically removes it from the ground, the road removing the road from the road system database, but even
database, and/or published maps. Road decommissioning this is not certain. An on-the-ground investigation is
should not be confused with road closure. Road closure generally required to determine exactly which activities
implies temporarily prohibiting access to a road. This is an were used to decommission a particular road.
important distinction because some forests say they are During the summer of 2003, Wildlands CPR conducted a
“decommissioning” roads while in reality they are “closing” survey of all national forest road decommissioning. This
roads. For example, they may be placing a gate or barrier on project was prompted, in part, by FS claims that from 1998-
the road entrance, but are leaving culverts and the road 2002 they decommissioned fourteen miles of road for every
prism in place. one mile built. While we confirmed that the agency is
The FS is “decommissioning” thousands of miles of decommissioning roads, we also learned that they have no
roads for a variety of reasons. The most common are: consistent definition for “decommissioning.”
• to eliminate environmental degradation; In this study, our goal was to collect data to illustrate
what activities the FS employs to decommission roads and
• to reduce impacts associated with motorized in what proportions. Is the agency actually “decommission-
access; ing” roads or simply “closing” them? It is also important to
• to meet specific management requirements defined understand which kinds of roads (system or non-system) are
in Forest plans or court orders; and, being decommissioned. System roads were engineered,
• to avoid long-term road maintenance costs. constructed, and inventoried by the FS; non-system roads
were either created by users or constructed for timber sales,
grazing, and mining, but never placed on the inventory (and
are therefore difficult to categorize). It appears that in many
cases, the FS is taking credit for decommissioning non-
system roads while not taking responsibility for their
Based on our research, it appears that the FS is invest-
ing in road removal and stream channel restoration in
certain places, while investing very little in other places. In
all cases, ground truthing will be necessary to determine
what level of work is being done in reported road decommis-
sioning programs.

We contacted the road manager or lead engineer at each
regional office of the FS and requested the Road Accomplish-
ment Report Summaries (RARS) for 1997 – 2002. Each forest
in the National Forest System must submit this annual
Many types of activities meet the Forest Service definition of report, which tracks additions to and deletions from the
“decommissioning,” from blocking a road’s access (above), to road system, maintenance, construction, reconstruction,
fully removing it and re-establishing vegetative cover (right). decommissioning miles and associated costs. The RARS
Photos by Edgar van der Grift. also tracks whether activity occurred on system or non-
system roads. We used a formal Freedom of Information Act
request to acquire data from Regions 1 and 6.
14 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003
Results and Discussion • Regions 1 (Northern) and 3 (Southwest) are also
decommissioning relatively high numbers of system
According to the RARS report, the FS is decommission- roads, averaging more than 300 miles per year.
ing roads in nearly every national forest in the United States.
Below we articulate the most important and significant
• Regions 5 (Pacific Southwest) and 10 (Alaska) are
results of the data we gathered and describe noteworthy decommissioning relatively few miles of road but
regions for future investigation. The full report is available are making a considerable investment in the
on our website and also identifies noteworthy forests. decommissioning they do accomplish.
• Regions 2 (Rocky Mountains) and 4 (Intermountain)
are decommissioning relatively high numbers of
National Results (All FS Regions) road (generally non-system roads) for only limited
Nationwide, the FS is decommissioning an average of financial investment (with the exception of the
2,038 miles of road per year (system and non-system roads Payette National Forest).
combined) at a cost of $3,911 per mile. When broken down, • Regions 8 (Southern) and 9 (Eastern) are decommis-
the FS is decommissioning 1,290 miles of system road per sioning relatively few miles of road at a low cost-
year and 748 miles of non-system road per year at a cost of per-mile investment.
$3,521 per mile and $4,591 per mile respectively (Figures 1,
2). It is worth noting that the cost per mile for non-system
road decommissioning is higher than that for system road Conclusions
decommissioning; this is entirely due to the inclusion of This research has made it clear that the term “decom-
Alaska in this data. Alaska spends more than $22,000 per missioning” can mean a variety of different things. There is
mile to decommission non-system roads, nearly 350% more tremendous variation in the number of miles being decom-
than the rest of the country. missioned, the costs associated with decommissioning, and
When Alaska is taken out of the picture the cost-per- the activities being employed to decommission roads across
mile data changes significantly while the miles-per-year data the country. Ultimately, all that can be assured is that a
is barely affected. In the lower forty-eight, the FS is decom- decommissioned road likely has been removed from the FS
missioning 2,019 miles (system and non-system combined) database. In this vein, the term “decommissioning” must be
at a cost of $2,803 per mile. This includes 1,281 miles of qualified if it is to represent some sort of on-the-ground
system roads per year and 737 miles of non-system roads accomplishment for the FS. The next logical step would be
per year at an average cost per mile of $3,365 and $2,030 to document what is being accomplished on the ground.
respectively. A full version of this report is available online at
Nationally, the number of road miles decommissioned We recently sent the full report along
per year peaked in 1999 and then dropped by nearly 65% by with our road removal economics report to many forest
2002. Expenditures on road decommissioning rose steadily advocates. Using the two reports together, activists will be
after 1999, peaking in 2001 and then dropping 55% in 2002. able to gauge the potential for economic benefits from road
Costs-per-mile were highest in 1998, largely due to the decommissioning in their region. We hope to work with
inclusion of Alaska in our data sample. However, besides many of these organizations to conduct inspections and
1998, costs-per-mile have not fluctuated much, rising determine what is actually happening on the ground. Please
steadily through 2002. contact us if you’re interested in conducting a
groundtruthing project on your forest.
Noteworthy Regions
• Region 6 (Pacific Northwest) decommissions the — Ryan Schaffer recently completed this report as an
most miles of road (system and non-system com- internship with Wildlands CPR. He is currently pursuing a law
bined) and the most miles of system road in the degree at Lewis & Clark College.

Figure 1. Forest Service annual average Figure 2. Forest Service annual average non-system
system decommissioning mileage and decommissioning mileage and annual average non-
annual average system cost comparison system cost comparison (1995-2002).
annual average miles annual average miles
annual average cost per mile annual average cost per mile

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 15

Bibliography Notes summarizes and highlights some of the
scientific literature in our 10,000 citation bibliography on the
physical and ecological effects of roads and off-road vehicles. We
offer bibliographic searches to help activists access important
biological research relevant to roads. We keep copies of most
articles cited in Bibliography Notes in our office library.

Indirect Impacts of Road-Building in

Developing Countries
By Carrie Brunger

Roads pose a particularly challenging problem to those
interested in forest conservation in developing nations
(Wilkie et al. 2000). Scientists study the effects of road
building from many perspectives including ecological,
social, economic, and cultural. While the direct ecological
impacts of roads have been well documented, indirect
effects are more difficult to quantify and more challenging to
examine. This doesn’t, however, diminish their impact on
local populations, livelihood, biodiversity, and overall
human vitality. This review examines some of the major
indirect impacts of road building in developing countries in
order to understand the factors involved and effects created Road building in the Ivory Coast connected rural farmers with large
in this ever-growing business of road building. scale cotton companies. Photo by Carrie Brunger.

Road building can lead to the resettlement of large Agricultural Development
numbers of people from rural to urban areas, placing
Road building can result in a significant loss of produc-
pressure on urban infrastructure. Conversely, roads can
tive agricultural lands as they are developed. Research also
facilitate migration of people to once isolated areas, leading
reveals that roads increase agricultural development in
to indirect impacts such as increased hunting and poaching,
previously isolated areas as migrants pursue economic gain
agricultural development, and economic change. Next, I
and stability (Mahar 1989; Mahar et al. 1994; Ayres et al.
review the impacts of this increased migration and examine
1991). For example, with the advent of road building in the
the integral role that roads play in migration.
Amazon basin, settlers, immigrants, colonization enter-
prises, cattle ranchers, and agricultural projects arrived in
Hunting and Poaching the region and created economic opportunities (Ayres et
The increase in access and hunting pressure enabled by al.1991; Price 1989), while degrading native ecosystems. The
road building is one of the major indirect impacts currently same development followed road building halfway around
addressed by research (Bennett et al. 2001; Fimbel et al. the world in rural Africa (Mwase 1991), Southeast Asia
2001; Wilkie et al. 2000; Auzel et al. 2000; Wilkie et al. 2001; (Kummer and Turner 1994), and in Central America
Peres et al. 2003; Minnemeyer 2002). The hunting of wildlife (Chomitz and Gray 1995).
in forests is a common practice associated with timber
extraction, mining, agricultural development and deforesta- Agricultural development increases primarily through
tion as a whole (Rumiz et al 2001). Many roads created for logging practices and government sponsorship. While
logging and mining become points of entry into otherwise logging concessions add roads into untouched areas,
isolated areas. As a result of such road building in the government colonization programs also increase agricultural
Republic of Congo, travel time for hunters to reach an development and cattle ranching by providing access and
access point declined from twelve hours to less than two, economic incentives to migrate to the frontier (Mahar 1989).
turning what was once a four day journey into a one day In Brazil in the 1960s and 1970s, massive government road
event (Wilkie 2000). Also, road networks created for logging projects made large areas accessible for the first time, and
and mining have been proven to substantially increase agricultural colonization schemes attracted migrants (Mahar
access to game while also facilitating transport to markets 1989). With the development of the government-funded
(Fimbel et al. 2001). Even roads in national reserves have Belem-Brasilia Highway, cattle ranching firms and millions of
been found to assist poaching and hunting in Bolivia migrants poured into the rural area. In addition to cheap
(Townsend 2000) and South Africa (Kotze 2002). land, the government offered tax and credit incentives to

16 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

encourage agriculture. Official estimates suggest that the as HIV/AIDs and other communicable diseases such as
total human population in the zone of the highway increased tuberculosis. Additionally, roads with poor drainage create
from 100,000 in 1960 to about two million ten years later standing water and increase the risk of water born disease
(Mahar 1989). such as cholera and malaria. Road improvements increase
vehicular speed, which results in increased collisions
Economic Growth and Development between both human and animal populations.
National economic growth and development have long
been seen as the ultimate goals of road building in develop- Conclusion
ing countries. Roads generate economic growth by creating Not only do researchers agree that both direct and
demand for new services and labor. Employment comes indirect impacts of road building in developing countries are
from a variety of sources including farming, logging, selling important topics to examine, but they also focus on solu-
or maintaining goods, and service related businesses. As tions to mitigate those impacts. The following suggestions
logging companies move into an area, employment of local are only the tip of the iceberg in mitigating the impacts of
workers rises (Forest Monitor 2003; Bennett and Gumal 2001; roads in developing countries:
Wilkie et al. 2000). But in many cases subsistence opportu- • Developing a strategic approach to road reconstruc-
nities decrease, creating new dependence on a monetary tion (Wilkie et al. 2000);
economy that requires increased resource extraction.
Additionally, socio-cultural values may be altered and
• Reviewing policies (Mason and Putz 2001, Mahar
exposure to rapid social change or tourism may create 1989, Mahar et al. 1994);
instability in the community (USAID 2003). On the other • Creating and expanding wildlife reserves in develop-
hand, economic development and long-term, sustainable ing countries (Switalski 2002; Smith et al. 1998;
improvements in society are also indirect impacts of road Peres 2003);
building in developing countries, measured primarily • Regulating logging transport and requiring road
through developments in healthcare, access to education, demolition after logging (Auzel et al. 2000; Fimbel et
infrastructure, commerce and communication systems. al. 2001; Bennett et al. 2001; Wilkie et al. 2001);
Without roads, commerce can barely exist, let alone expand.
Not surprisingly, reconstruction of roads is a prominent
• Examining road construction, tree felling, and
component of the government’s plan to restore the Demo- extraction methods (Mason and Putz 2001); and,
cratic Republic of Congo’s economy (Wilkie et al. 2000). • Training, educating, and involving local populations
While road building can improve Gross Domestic Product (Fimbel et al 2001; Forest Monitor 2003;
and facilitate international trade, it also dramatically Buschbacher 1990).
reduces biodiversity, increases habitat fragmentation, and
increases economic costs caused by environmental damage Due to gaps and weaknesses in research methodology,
like landslides. Additionally, decreases in scenic quality and the intricacies of dynamic societies, and evolving cultures,
tourism following road building can result in further eco- understanding the indirect impacts of roads in developing
nomic losses (USAID 2003). countries is a challenge. In many cases, information is not
easily quantifiable. Expanding the focus of research from
Impacts on Human Health and Safety ecological effects to include social, cultural and economic
There are also a number of indirect impacts on human effects will benefit sustainable management, habitat vitality
health and safety resulting from road building (USAID 2003). and rural livelihood. This shift in research, however, must
Unpaved roads generate dust and noise that can negatively not only come from individuals but also from the organiza-
affect road construction workers and local communities. tions and governments that fund road building. Quantitative
Roads increase connections between communities resulting research is vital in understanding impacts, but local knowl-
in increased potential for sexually transmitted diseases such edge and appreciation is also of utmost importance. Road
building projects can be both beneficial and detrimental to
local cultures, and while environmental impacts such as
deforestation and loss of biodiversity may never be elimi-
nated, they can be diminished. To do so, local involvement
and understanding must be prioritized. This process, along
with appropriate needs assessment, will be key to ensuring
that new transportation infrastructures have the least
possible impacts.

— Carrie Brunger is a Graduate Student in the Environmental

Studies Program at the University of Montana.

— References follow on next page —

Due to road building in developing countries, many regional markets
are now linked to remote areas. Photo by Carrie Brunger.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 17

Auzel, P. and D.S. Wilkie. 2000. Wildlife use in Northern Congo: Price, D. 1989. Before the Bulldozer: the Nambiquara Indians
hunting in a commercial logging concession. In: Hunting and the World Bank. Seven Locks Press, Cabin John,
for Sustainability in Tropical Forests. (J.G. Robinson and Maryland, 212 pp.
E.L. Bennett, editors), Columbia University Press, New Rumiz, D.I., D. Guinart, L. Solar, J.C. Herrera. 2001. Logging and
York, 413-454. hunting in community forests and corporate concessions.
Ayres, J.M, D.M Lima, E. S. Martins and J.L.K. Barreiros. 1991. In: The Cutting Edge: Conserving Wildlife in Logged
On the track of the road: changes in subsistence hunting Tropical Forests. (editors: R.A. Fimbel, A. Grajal and J.G.
in a Brazilian Amazonian village. In: Neotropical Wildlife Robinson). Columbia University Press, New York, 333-357.
Use and Conservation (J.G. Robinson and K.H Redford, Switalski, A. 2002. Bibliography notes: the impact of roads on
editors), The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 82-92. large carnivores around the world. The Road-Riporter 7(3):
Bennett, E.L. and M.T. Gumal. 2001. The interrelationships of 14-16.
commercial logging, hunting, and wildlife in Sarawak: Smith, J.L.D., S.C. Ahearn and C. McDougal. 1998. Landscape
recommendations for forest management. In: The Cutting analysis of tiger distribution and habitat quality in Nepal.
Edge: Conserving Wildlife in Logged Tropical Forests. Conservation Biology 12(6): 1338-1346.
(editors: R.A. Fimbel, A. Grajal and J.G. Robinson). Townsend, W.R. 2000. The sustainability of Subsistence hunting
Columbia University Press, New York, 359-374. by the Siriono Indians of Boliva. In: Hunting for
Buschbacher, R.J. 1990. Natural forest management in the Sustainability in Tropical Forests. (J.G. Robinson and E.L.
humid tropics: ecological, social and economic Bennett, editors), Columbia University Press, New York,
considerations. Ambio 19(5): 253-58. 267-281.
Chomitz, K.M. and D.A. Gray. 1995. Roads, land use and Vermilye, K. Personal observation. Interviewed on 10/24/03.
deforestation: A spatial model applied to Belize. Wilkie, D.E. Shaw, F. Rotberg, G. Morelli and P. Auzel. 2000.
Environment, Infrastructure and Agriculture Division. Roads, development and conservation in the congo basin.
Working Paper 3, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. 50 pp. Conservation Biology 14(6): 1614-22.
Fimbel, R.A., A. Grajal and J.G. Robinson. 2001. Logging and Wilkie, D.S., J.G. Sidle, G.C. Boundzanga, P.Auzel and S. Blake.
wildlife in the tropics: impacts and options for 2001. Defaunation, not deforestation: commercial logging
conservation. In: The Cutting Edge: Conserving Wildlife in and market hunting in northern Congo. In: The Cutting
Logged Tropical Forests. (editors: R.A. Fimbel, A. Grajal Edge: Conserving Wildlife in Logged Tropical Forests.
and J.G. Robinson). Columbia University Press, New York, (editors: R.A. Fimbel, A. Grajal and J.G. Robinson).
667-695. Columbia University Press, New York, 375-399.
Forests Monitor. 2003. “Part III: Impacts of the logging industry.” World Bank.1997. Roads and the Environment: A Handbook.
[] World Bank Technical Report TWU 13, and update WB
Accessed on 10/30/03. Technical Paper No. 376. World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Kotze, N.J. 2002. The consequences of road development in the (Part II details specific environmental, social, and other
Golden Gate Highlands National Park, South Africa: impacts). Online:
paradise lost? World Leisure 3: 54-60. publicat/reh/toc.htm
Kummer, D.M. and B.L.II Turner. 1994. The human causes of
deforestation in Southeast Asia. BioScience 44(5): 323-329.
Mahar, D.J. 1989. Government policies and deforestation in
Brazil’s Amazon region. Report 8910. International Bank
for Reconstruction and Development and The World
Bank, Washington, DC. 56 pp.
Mahar, D. and R. Schneider. 1994. Incentives for tropical
deforestation: some examples from Latin America. In: The
Causes of Tropical Deforestation. (editors K. Brown and
D.W. Pearce), UBC Press Limited, 159-171.
Mason, D.J. and F.E. Putz. 2001. Reducing the impacts of
tropical forestry on wildlife. In: The Cutting Edge:
Conserving Wildlife in Logged Tropical Forests. (editors:
R.A. Fimbel, A. Grajal and J.G. Robinson). Columbia
University Press, New York, 473-502.
Minnemeyer, S. 2002. An analysis of access into central Africa’s Road building changes the migration
rainforest. World Forest Watch Report. World Resources patterns and cultural dynamics of
Institute. 26pp. [ developing nations. Photo by Adam
gfw_centralafrica_full.pdf] Accessed on 9/15/2003. Slater.
Mwase, N.R.L. 1991. Role of transport in rural development in
Africa. Impact of Science on Society 41(2): 137-48.
Peres, C.A. and I.R. Lake. 2003. Extent of non timber resource
extraction in tropical forests: accessibility to game
vertebrates by hunters in the Amazon basin. Conservation
Biology 17(2): 521-35.

18 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

Rich Mountain Road
Adjacent to the Rich Mountain Wilderness in
North Georgia, there is a road called the Rich
Mountain Road, or the “Old Road” by the locals. It
cuts across country, through the Chattahoochee
National Forest, and borders the Rich Mountain
Wilderness. The Old Road is barely passable by
anything other than all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or
high-clearance off-road vehicles (ORVs) (See The
Road-RIPorter 7:4: Odes to Roads).

In truth the Old Road isn’t officially a road. Wildlands CPR file photo.
There is no record that it was ever a public county
road, nor did Gilmer County ever maintain it,
though they claimed it for years. Early this year,
the county wrote a letter disavowing the road and
affirming the fact that it is not a public county road
Wilderness Study Area Lawsuit
and that it never was. Ownership fell to the Forest
Service, who, for years, had stated that the road Wildlands CPR often joins with other groups in litigation to
was substandard and needed to be closed. Unfor- protect natural areas from road construction and off-road vehicle
tunately, they have yet to close it. The road damage. In 1999 we joined the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
continues to pour sediment into Stanley Creek (a (SUWA) and six other groups in a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land
trout stream), Wolf Creek, and Briar Creek; it has Management (BLM) over off-road vehicle abuses in four Wilderness
also sprouted new ATV trails into the Wilderness Study Areas in Utah. The case was dismissed by the district court as
area. Just this September a woman lost her life in not being ripe for judicial review, but SUWA appealed to the 10th
an ATV accident on the Old Road. Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2002 the 10th Circuit agreed with SUWA
and remanded the case back to the district court for a decision on the
In September of this year, the Turner Environ- merits. This summer, however, the Bush Administration appealed
mental Law Clinic and WildLaw filed suit on behalf that ruling to the Supreme Court, and on November 3 the Supreme
of Georgia Forestwatch and Wilderness Watch Court announced that they would take the case.
against the Forest Service for violating the National
Forest Management Act (NFMA) and the Wilderness While the facts of the case appear simple, the Bush Administra-
Act. The premise is that by failing to close the tion is trying to use this case to open up new ground and invite
road, monitor its effects, or enforce laws prohibit- mismanagement. They’ve appealed the procedural aspects of the
ing ATVs off designated trails, the Forest Service is case, arguing that the case wasn’t ripe for review because BLM’s
violating its own regulations as well as NFMA and failure to act to protect Wilderness Study Areas was not a final agency
the Wilderness Act. The case is likely to be action. If they win on these procedural grounds, the implications will
controversial and one to watch. We hope that a go far beyond wilderness or environmental protection.
victory here will set a good precedent for the rest
of the country. For more information please The Bush Administration argues that conservationists should not
contact Katherine Medlock, staff ecologist for be allowed to sue the land management agency for failing to act, but
Georgia Forestwatch at (706) 635-8733. only for acting ineffectively or illegally. However, we argued that the
failure to act amounted to a decision in and of itself.

There is a similar case in the 9th Circuit that is now on hold

pending the outcome of this case. We expect them to hear the case in
the Spring of 2004.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 19

Restoration Program Update

By Marnie Criley

From developing and analyzing public policy, to publishing

groundbreaking economics research, to making a difference on-the-
ground, our restoration/road removal program has been very active
this fall.

Restoration Principles
Marnie has been a key member of The Restoration Principles
Steering Committee for three years, helping to craft the mission and
principles that will guide restoration efforts for years to come. The
Committee just added 5 new members from the forest practitioner/
community forestry arena, all of who are interested in promoting on-
the-ground restoration projects. We’re in the process of developing
goals and strategies for the next year based on the following mission:
The mission of the restoration steering committee is to create a
restoration dialogue and build a movement to advance ecologically
and socio-economically sustainable forest and watershed restoration.
The steering committee utilizes a collaborative process to advance on-
the-ground restoration projects, employ the Restoration Principles as
a reference guide, promote their use in discussions and in practice,
and facilitate a general dialogue on issues critical to the achievement
of ecologically and socio-economically desirable restoration on
private and public lands.

Economics Research
The Summary Report from our economic study, Investing in
Communities, Investing in the Land, is finally printed and was distrib-
uted to more than 500 activists, targeted county commissioners, road
removal practitioners, trade associations, economists, etc. We’ve Wildlands CPR’s road restoration projects are
already been getting quite a bit of interest from agency folks and educating citizens and land managers nationwide
others. The Summary Report can be viewed on our website (the full while healing the land directly. Photo by Bethanie
report is coming soon). If you’d like a copy, or you’re interested in Walder.
distributing hard copies to folks you work with, please contact

Model Road Removal Program

Beth Peluso has put together a road removal flowchart titled “Nine steps to a
successful road removal program,” which can be viewed on our website. Marnie
made a poster based on this flowchart and the Clearwater National Forest’s road
removal model, which Adam presented at the Yellowstone to Yukon annual
gathering in Missoula in October. Beth is now in the process of finalizing her full
report on the components of a model road removal program, and putting together
a funding brochure on private/federal funding sources for road removal. Both
documents should be completed by the end of the year — we’ll keep you in-

Finally, Wildlands CPR worked with the Sierra Club on a road removal project
in southcentral Montana this fall; see pages 6-7 for a complete update.

20 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

Transportation Program Science Program Update
By Lisa Philipps By Adam Switalski

New Staff Our science program continues to disseminate and

In mid-November, Jason Kiely became our transporta- promote cutting edge research on the effects of roads and
tion policy organizer. Jason brings a wealth of knowledge off-road vehicles and the benefits of road removal. With the
and experience about community organizing to Wildlands help of Erich Zimmerman and Hank Green, we have updated
CPR. He also just spent four months as an intern for us, our road and off-road vehicle database. We compiled this
helping us develop an organizing and outreach plan for our bibliography to help people access relevant scientific
road removal economics work. Jason brings a terrific literature on erosion, fragmentation, sedimentation, pollu-
energy to the office, and we’re very excited to have him on tion, effects on wildlife, aquatic and hydrologic effects, and
board. other topics relating to the impacts of roads and off-road
vehicles. The database now contains over 10,000 citations
documenting the physical and ecological effects of roads
Transportation Planning and off-road vehicles. Check it out at
Many national forests are engaged in revised forest
planning processes, some of which include some form of In a collaborative effort this fall between the Clearwater
transportation planning. In November, Bethanie attended a National Forest, Nez Perce Tribe, Montana Conservation
meeting in Utah to strategize with other conservationists Corp, and Wildlands CPR, we planted 1,700 shrubs on a
about revised forest planning on the Dixie, Fishlake and recontoured helipad and reestablished sprigged willows in a
Manti LaSal National Forests. The meeting was organized by restored stream crossing. Hopefully, these shrubs and
Mary O’Brien, on behalf of groups like the Grand Canyon willows will jump start the restoration process on another
Trust, Red Rock Forests and Southern Utah Wilderness piece of the Clearwater National Forest. Funding was
Alliance. Mary will be working with those folks to develop a provided by the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation
planning alternative similar to the one she helped develop Initiative’s minigrant program.
for Hells Canyon (see cover story in this issue). Roads and
motorized recreation are a significant issue in these three We have several students from the University of
forests, and Wildlands CPR will continue to assist with the Montana’s Environmental Studies Program investigating
development of good road and off-road vehicle management road and off-road vehicle issues. The students will develop
language for the citizen’s alternative. short papers and summaries for publication in upcoming
If your forest is undergoing transportation or forest plan issues of The Road-RIPorter. This year’s topics include the
revisions, don’t hesitate to contact our office for assistance. impacts of personal watercraft on waterfowl, the indirect
impacts of roads in the developing world (see Bibliography
National Forest Service Regulatory Reform Notes, this issue, pages 16-18), and an analysis of the
As explained in the article on pages 10-11, the Forest different types of linear barriers.
Service (FS) will be undertaking a national reform effort for
off-road vehicle regulations. While we are cautiously Adam continues to provide research findings from the
encouraged that the FS has finally taken this issue seriously, latest road, off-road vehicle, and road removal studies to
we are extremely concerned about the potential outcome of activists, agency folks, and other researchers. He has been
such a project. We’ll be following this closely and working meeting with a wide variety of scientists from Universities
with many organizations and activists to ensure that the FS and the Forest Service, as well as independent researchers,
develops the best possible rule. to promote scientific advancement in our understanding of
road removal. Recently, Adam travelled to Austin, Texas and
Natural Trails and Waters Coalition presented a talk entitled “Priorities for road removal
In early December, Jason, Lisa and Bethanie will be research” at the Society for Ecological Restoration’s annual
meeting with the rest of the staff and steering committee for meeting.
Natural Trails and Waters Coalition to finalize campaign
plans and projects for 2004. The Coalition is shifting its
focus from the national parks to national forest and Bureau
of Land Management lands. During the last quarter, the
Coalition distributed the remainder of its minigrant funding
and we’re very psyched about the projects that are now, or
will soon be, underway.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 21

Wildlands CPR

any thanks to the 444S Foundation and Patagonia for Road-Ripper’s Handbook ($20.00, $30.00 non-
generous grants to support our off-road vehicle work. members) — A comprehensive activist
We’d also like to thank all of you who supported our manual that includes the five Guides listed
major donor campaign. We exceeded last year’s campaign by at below, plus The Ecological Effects of
least $5,000, though we are still waiting for final pledges and gifts Roads, Gathering Information with the
to come in. We’d especially like to thank board members Mary Freedom of Information Act, and more!
O’Brien, Cara Nelson, Karen DiBari, Dave Havlick and Sonya Road-Ripper’s Guide to the National Forests ($5,
Newenhouse for calling many of you to talk about our programs. $8 non-members) — By Keith Hammer.
We also had two stellar volunteers who helped out with phone How-to procedures for getting roads
calls for the campaign — Carla Abrams and Ronni Flannery. closed and revegetated, descriptions of
environmental laws, road density
As we mentioned in the last issue, some of our staff had standards & Forest Service road policies.
happy feet in the last quarter and decided to move on. We’re Road-Ripper’s Guide to the National Parks ($5,
excited to introduce you to two new staff members who are now $8 non-members) — By David Bahr & Aron
working for Wildlands CPR. In late September, Kiffin Hope started Yarmo. Provides background on the
working with us as our program assistant. Kiffin has deftly taken National Park System and its use of roads,
over our website maintenance and redesign, in addition to helping and outlines how activists can get involved
Tommy out with the major donor campaign and other member- in NPS planning.
ship and fundraising duties. Kiffin comes to us with a background Road-Ripper’s Guide to the BLM ($5, $8 non-
in philosophy and deep ecology, as well as work experience in the members) — By Dan Stotter. Provides an
business world, especially focused on financial consulting and overview of road-related land and resource
marketing. We’re really enjoying having him on staff — check out laws, and detailed discussions for
his articles on pages 6 and 12. participating in BLM decision-making
In November, summer intern Jason Kiely joined our fulltime Road-Ripper’s Guide to Off-Road Vehicles ($5, $8
staff as our new Transportation Policy Organizer. Jason spent non-members) — By Dan Wright. A
seven years as a community organizer in Chicago, mostly focused comprehensive guide to reducing the use
on fighting predatory lending practices. We’re sure his successful and abuse of ORVs on public lands.
work there will translate well to the conservation field, and help Includes an extensive bibliography.
us build diverse public support for controlling off-road vehicle Road-Ripper’s Guide to Wildland Road Removal
abuses and preventing new road construction. Jason has been ($5, $8 non-members) — By Scott Bagely.
interning with us since June, helping us develop an organizing Provides technical information on road
plan for our road removal economics report and working to build construction and removal, where and why
community support for road removal. We’re very excited to have roads fail, and how you can effectively
him on board and we hope you’ll enjoy working with him as much assess road removal projects.
as we have. Trails of Destruction ($10) — By Friends of the
Earth and Wildlands CPR, written by Erich
Many thanks, too, to new volunteer Hank Green. Hank’s been Pica and Jacob Smith. This report explains
in and out of our office almost weekly, helping us out with every- the ecological impacts of ORVs, federal
thing from mailing projects to the completion of our bibliographic funding for motorized recreation on public
database. Thanks, Hank — we really appreciate your help! lands, and the ORV industry’s role in
pushing the ORV agenda.

— To order these publications, use the

order form on next page —

Refer a friend to Wildlands CPR!

Send us the names and addresses of friends you think may be
interested in receiving membership information from Wildlands CPR.

22 The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003

Membership and Order Information
Joining Wildlands CPR increases our member base — which Yes! I want to help revive and protect wild places by
increases public awareness, citizen activism, and political clout — becoming a Wildlands CPR member (or by renewing
and increases the dollars to get our work done. my membership).
All members receive an annual subscription to The Road-RIPorter.
City, State,

Phone Email

Type of Membership: Individual Organization

Payment Option #1: Payment Option #2:

Monthly Giving Annual Membership Dues
Instead of annual member dues, a monthly donation can be automati- I have enclosed my tax-deductible Wildlands CPR
cally withdrawn from your checking account. A monthly donation will membership contribution of:
do two things: it adds up quickly to a major contribution, and it allows
Wildlands CPR to make long-term plans.
$1,000 $250 $50 family $15 living lightly
$5/Month $10/Month $20/Month other $500 $100 $30 standard other

I/we authorize Wildlands CPR to deduct the amount indicated above

from my checking account once per month. Please include a voided
check. All information will be kept confidential. I prefer to give online via my credit card.

[Go to]

Thank you for your support!

Send me these Wildlands CPR Publications: Prices include shipping: for Priority Mail add $3.50 per item;
for Canadian orders, add $6.50 per item.
International Membership — $30 Minimum. All prices in U.S. Dollars
Ask about reduced rates for items ordered in bulk.
Qty: Title/Price Each: Total:
Check here if you are interested in helping
/ to distribute The Road-RIPorter in your area.
Check here to receive our ORV and road email
/ newsletter, “Skid Marks,” every few weeks.
Check here for our Email Activist List.
/ Please remember to include your email address.

Total of all items: Check here for our RIP-Web non-paper

option. Get the RIPorter online before it gets
printed. Please include your email address.

In order to increase our membership,Wildlands CPR

occasionally exchanges member’s names with like- Please send this form and your payment option to:
minded conservation organizations. If you do not want Wildlands CPR • P.O. Box 7516 • Missoula, Montana 59807
your name traded, please check here.

The Road-RIPorter, Winter Solstice 2003 23

Photo by Adam Switalski.

Non-profit Organization

Wildlands CPR
P.O. Box 7516
Missoula, MT 59807

We might find that road closures will

open new worlds, put our feet in
contact with the ground, and put our
souls in touch with our past, present,
and hopefully our future.

— Aaron Drendel

The Road-RIPorter is printed on 100% post-consumer recycled, process chlorine-free bleached paper with soy-based ink.