Final Travel Analysis Report Released
The Final Travel Analysis Report for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has been completed, in addition to a list of roads likely not needed, and a map of roads likely needed and likely not needed into the future.
Thanks to all who attended the public meetings in 2014 and provided comments regarding the “Draft Maps of Road Ratings for Public Access and Environmental Risks.” Keep in mind that the travel analysis report is not a decision document. The report will inform future decisions that will move the forest towards a financially sustainable road system reflecting long term funding expectations that meets access needs and minimizes adverse environmental impacts. Any future changes in the road system will be subject to a public environmental review process and will provide opportunities for public participation.
Travel Analysis (Subpart A) - Background
The Travel Analysis Process is a requirement of 36 CFR 212.5 Subpart A of the 2005 Travel Management Rule. This Rule incorporates provisions from the original 2001 Road Management rule into Subpart A, and adds Subparts B and C.
In January 2004, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest completed a Roads Analysis that met the requirements of the 2001 Road Management Rule (36 CFR 212) using the process outlined in FS-643 Roads Analysis: Informing Decisions about Managing the National Forest Transportation System.
Results of this effort included an updated mandatory ‘Roads Atlas’, including a travel management layer in GIS and a database of road attributes, a refined process to help natural resource specialists incorporate road issues into environmental analysis at the project level, and associated environmental and public safety risks for each road.
One of the most important outcomes of this process was the development of specific environmental /road interaction layers that could be used in analyzing the risks and benefits of the transportation system. These analysis techniques, and many of the layers developed, are still being used today in project level Environmental Analyses.
What the analysis did not do but is now required to:
- identify the road system needed for safe and efficient travel and for the protection, management, and use of NFS lands; and
- identify roads that are no longer needed to meet forest resource management objectives and therefore, should be scheduled for decommissioning or considered for other uses.
The road system, as defined in the Travel Management Rule, is a road system that:
- is needed to meet resource and other management objectives identified in the relevant land and resource management plan;
- meets applicable statutory and regulatory requirements;
- reflects long-term funding expectations; and
- minimizes adverse environmental impacts associated with road construction, reconstruction, decommissioning, and maintenance.
To meet the requirements of Subpart B of the Rule, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has published a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and is in process of preparing a Motor Vehicle Use Map and Record of Decision. Subpart C of the Rule provides for the regulation of use by over-snow vehicles on NFS roads and trails and in designated areas and is not a part of this analysis.
Purpose of this analysis is to: Define a transportation system of the future comprised of a set of roads and motorized trails that maximizes attainment of access needs, minimizes environmental risks, and reflects long-term funding expectations.
This analysis does not make road-by-road management decisions or recommendations. It will be used to inform the formal decision making that will occur through the NEPA process at some point in the future. It does provide an evaluation regarding environmental concerns and access needs for each road segment and provides this information in the context of financial feasibility of what can be adequately maintained for public safety and to minimize environmental impacts.
The goals for Travel Management include:
- Identify a financially and ecologically sustainable road system.
- Maintain and/or build strong trust and relationships with communities, partners, and stakeholders at different scales.
- Create clear and dependable public access to National Forests.
Scope of the analysis: This analysis will include all National Forest System (NFS) roads, maintenance levels 1-5 (see below), that are under the jurisdiction of and maintained by the Forest Service, including roads under cost-share agreements. Many additional routes provide access to National Forest lands including other Federal, State and County roads and private routes. These routes must be considered in the planning effort but do not contribute to the financial sustainability of the NFS system. While the analysis will include connections to other roads (private, county, state or other agency jurisdictions), opportunities associated with the travel analysis process under Subpart A only apply to NFS routes.
Maintenance Level 5: Double lane paved roads ($4000-$8000/mile)
Maintenance Level 4: Single lane paved roads ($2500-$3500/mile)
Maintenance Level 3: Single or double lane gravel road ($1700-$3900/mile)
Maintenance Level 2: High clearance vehicles only, gravel or native surface road ($13-$1500/mile)
Maintenance Level 1: Roads in storage ($23-$296/mile). Costs associated with installing berms/maintaining gates.
The investment costs for road improvements, decommissioning, storm damage repair, deferred maintenance, and other costs associated with changing/reducing maintenance levels will be identified for the total investment cost needed, but will not be included in the annual maintenance cost analysis. The financial analysis will be based on routine annual maintenance work funded with routine annual maintenance funding.
Elements that will be considered for access and risk assessment will include, as a minimum, the following:
(Primary Uses and Need for Access)
(Environmental Concerns Based in Using Discipline Protocols)
||Soils / Watershed / Aquatics
| Developed Recreation Sites
|| Landslide potential
| Dispersed Recreation Sites
|| Surface erosion
| Dispersed Recreation Uses
|| Floodplain functions
| Access between communities
|| Alteration to surface runoff patterns
| Special Forest Products (Christmas trees, etc.)
|| Impacts to fish and aquatic species
| Access to other Federal, State, County lands
|| Affects to wetlands
| Tribal Uses
|| Affects to migration patterns
| Vegetation Management
|| Special habitats
| Range Management
| Fire Prevention / Suppression
|| Threatened and Endangered Species
| Lands / Mineral Management
||Botany / Invasive Species
| Heritage Resources
|| Special Habitats
|| Threatened and Endangered Species
||Wild and Scenic Rivers
| Emergency Services (Search and Rescue, etc.)
| Special Use Sites
||Archaeology / Heritage
Issues that are out of scope for this analysis include;
- Cumulative effects of region-wide additional closures reducing recreation and other opportunities
- Analyzing social, economic issues associated with motorized recreation
- Private land values
- Costs of enforcement, monitoring, signage, gating, etc. in implementing the travel management plan
- Evaluating roads with possible RS 2477 designations
- Outdoor recreation by persons with disability
- Analyzing effects on semi-primitive unroaded areas.
- Motorized over-snow use
- Lack of funding for road maintenance
Scale of the analysis: The 2004 Roads Analysis was based on watersheds consolidated into District land units. This division reflects the significantly different environments and management issues that exist across the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The watersheds continue to be the primary focus of environmental analyses on this Forest. These watershed units will be the basis for this analysis with maps and data reports consolidated by District.
Public Involvement: We strive to build and strengthen public trust and relationships with communities in everything we do. Travel analysis is an opportunity for public engagement on an issue in which the public is deeply interested. For this reason, this document will dedicate considerable attention to the social aspects of Travel Analysis.
No decisions are being made as a result of this process. The information collected will be used to guide future project-level decisions, and this will occur over time. There will be additional opportunities for public comments on each project-level decision.