Sustainable Roads


Four people looking at a map on a tableTwo people visiting, Forest Service employee and womanGroup of people looking at dirt road with tree down, school bus in backgroundGroup of people on a bridgeGroup of people examining a paved road






pproximately 2,500 miles of roads crisscross the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, from the Canadian border in the north to Mt. Rainier National Park in the south.  In 2005, the Forest Service created a Travel Management Rule to provide national consistency and clarity on motor vehicle uses on all National Forests within the National Forest System. The general purpose of Subpart A, known locally as the Sustainable Roads Strategy, is to help the forest identify its future road systems needs for safe and efficient travel and for administration, utilization, and protection of National Forest System lands.

The Sustainable Roads Strategy will assist the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in addressing issues related to roads in the future. It will be used to inform future analyses, decisions, and specific actions (i.e. Access and Travel Management Plans). This strategy is not a decision document. It serves as a guide to inform future decisions on where and how to invest resources on building new roads, managing current roads, or decommissioning old roads.

The public will have the opportunity to participate and provide feedback for local proposed actions that result in future decisions involving forest roads. Future proposed actions and decisions moving toward the minimum road system are subject to NEPA compliance and available funding.


Access Sustainable Roads Strategy and Supporting Documents


Public Engagement

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest carried out a sustainable roads public engagement process to help guide the Forest in a holistic forest-wide approach to future road management. Nine public meetings were held in communities near the Forest to inform participants of the Travel Management Rule of 2005. The public was then asked to tell the Forest which forest roads mattered most to them.

A “Sustainable Roads Cadre” was developed to help craft this effort. The cadre represents a wide array of forest user groups ranging from environmental, hunting, hiking, off-road vehicles drivers to the timber industry. The Cadre helped to schedule and manage meetings and to lend their voices to the dialogue. An ongoing two-way dialogue process was developed by the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and Portland State University to understand how people use and value landscapes and resources as well as to identify areas of high impact or conflict.

Continued public engagement has included a Forest Roads 101 field trip to highlight the primary aspects of forest road management. The Forest is currently developing an educational video on forest road management that will be posted to the Forest website for all users to view.


Next Steps

The Mt-Baker Snoqualmie National Forest is currently moving through the Access Travel Management (ATM) process for the Upper North Fork Nooksack on the Mt. Baker District and the Lower Greenwater Sub-Watershed on the Snoqualmie District. These proposed analyses consider access needs for a range of forest uses—recreation, forestry, and traditional and cultural uses—in balance with reducing impacts to the land as well as the Forest Service budget.

There will be on-going opportunities for public engagement during the ATM processes.  Public meetings on are expected to be held on the Upper North Fork Nooksack in early February 2016 and on the Lower Greenwater Sub-Watershed in late April 2016. Additional information will be forthcoming on this webpage.