ZigZag Road Decommissioning

Sandy Post: Bark, Forest Service partner to reclaim road for Mt. Hood National Forest

Bark, Forest Service partner to reclaim road for Mt. Hood National Forest

Created on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 12:42 | Written by Kylie Wray |
Read the original article here: http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/282672-159000-bark-forest-service-p...

Volunteers gathered to plant more than 200 seedlings on decommissioned forest road.

Two Ways to Help Mt. Hood Hikers

This weekend, Bark's allies at Trailkeepers of Oregon will build a trail that closes a chapter in the history of illegal ATV use in Mt. Hood National Forest...

The Forest Service has finalized its plan to decommission approximately 50 miles of unneeded and ecologically harmful roads in the Zigzag Ranger District and has implemented much of the decommissioning work. The Zigzag Ranger District is visited by scores of people every year because it provides access to spectacular hiking trails and campgrounds.

While Bark is hugely supportive of the Forest Service's plans for road decommissioning, we appealed the original plan to help craft a better and more ambitious plan. We worked to incorporate the voices of community members, hikers, equestrians, and other recreationists into the final plan, and to reduce the influence of timber sale planning in a restoration-driven decision making process.

Our appeal was resolved in June of 2010, after the Forest Service proposed to decommission three additional roads that are especially harmful to the City of Sandy 's drinking watershed, and agreed to move a trailhead out of a dangerous quarry turned de facto shooting range, as well as  restore the quarry to a more natural state. Of special significance, the Forest Service also agreed to recognize Bark as a key stakeholder and proceeded with a series of meetings where the agency agreed to concretely improve the crafting of road decommissioning processes. This has resulted in guaranteed field days or open houses for every future road decommissioning project, better disclosure of future timber sale plans in the road decommissioning project areas, and improved descriptions of how the roads will actually be decommissioned.

Thank you to everyone who submitted comments and let the Forest Service know they have to listen to the public and be ambitious with these projects.

More on Incremental Road Decommissioning: Bark has a long advocated for Mt. Hood National Forest to reduce the size of its enormous system of roads, mostly remnants from the heyday of logging, which cause significant impacts to fish, wildlife, and water quality. Public pressure from Bark along with recreation and conservation allies secured congressional restoration funds, which contributed to the creation of the incremental road decommissioning process (deconstructing roads to remove them from the landscape) under former Forest Supervisor Gary Larson in 2008. The agency embarked on this restoration by analyzing sub-watersheds throughout the forest to identify and decommission unneeded, problematic roads within these areas.

Project Status: 
Restoration
General Information
District: 
Zigzag Ranger District
Watershed: 

Salmon River Watershed

Damage to road in Mt. Hood National ForestClimate change is projected to bring about significant shifts in the pattern of precipitation across the Pacific NW. Decreased snowfall and increasingly warm average temperatures will result in more winter flooding and summer drought. This new precipitation pattern combined with the 4,000 mile network of roads crumbling, old logging roads represent the greatest threat to the health of rivers and streams and the availability and quality of drinking water generated in the forest. Bark works to ensure the Forest Service is prioritizing the work of decommissioning these old roads, by first digging up and decompacting the soils, then replanting. Removing these roads will help to reduce sedimentation into streams as well as discouraging illegal and destructive human activities in these sensitive and damaged areas.

Looking forward, Bark seeks to restore natural systems' capacities to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change on watersheds and drinking water sources. With reduced glacial melt and annual snowpack, summer flow, stream temperatures, and water quality will be diminished. Across the arid west, land managers are turning to nature's original hydrological engineers to help store water through dry periods, recharge aquifers, and protect aquatic habitat. A keystone species, beaver have always had a powerful impact on the landscape, but for nearly 200 years, they have been largely removed from their ecosystem. In 2018 Bark began a concentrated effort to help restore beaver to Mt. Hood National Forest in the hopes that their return will bring greater resilience to the forest ecosystem in the face of climate change.

Every year, the Forest Service proposes a suite of restoration projects to address the damage of these roads and historic logging practices ranging from the creation of in-stream fish habitat to decommissioning unneeded and ecologically harmful roads. You can find project details of current, proposed, and past restoration work in Mt. Hood National Forest at the link below.

Contact Courtney Rae, courtney@bark-out.org, to find out how you can help restore Mt. Hood!

 

Click here to view Restoration Projects

Project Status: 
In Progress

Urgent Palomar LNG Pipeline action and a visit to Annie's Cabin

Bark holds the line to protect Mt. Hood

Bark makes a controversial decision to appeal a road decommissioning plan in the Zigzag Ranger District watershed and we make the plan much better.

Wood debris from Sandy River flood will return to nature, become habitat for salmon and trout

Logs from the recent flooding on the Sandy River will be put to good use.

Crews to move Sandy River back to previous path, rebuild East Lolo Pass Road after Welches flooding

Clackamas County crews will begin today or tomorrow to route the Sandy River back to its previous path before its rampaging floodwaters earlier this week jumped the riverbanks, changing the course of the river and overruning part of East Lolo Pass Road near Weches.

Raging Sandy River driving hundreds from homes on the slopes of Mount Hood near Zig Zag

Swollen by heavy rain and rapid snowmelt, the Sandy River rampaged through residential areas on the slopes of Mt. Hood this morning, tearing away homes, cars and trucks.