Travel Analysis Process (TAP)

 

Mt. Hood in background with winding road in foreground

 

 

Final Report Documents

 

The Mt. Hood NF is assessing the transportation system through the Travel Analysis Process (TAP) to identify a future road system that is less costly and that will provide access for a variety of uses and minimize unwanted impacts to natural resources.  The Mt. Hood NF must identify a more ecologically and financially sustainable road system by 2015. The Travel Management Rule of 2005 requires all national forests to analyze their roads and propose transportation systems that meet travel, administrative and resource protection needs within available budgets. The Travel Analysis Process will help the Mt. Hood National Forest gather the information necessary to make future decisions about road projects such as upgrades, closures, decommissioning, and road-to-trail conversions.  This task isn't just about a report. The reality of the road budget decline is hitting us today.

The Forest’s road system grew from approximately 1000 miles in the 1950s to around 3,850 miles by 1990 primarily for access to timber production lands. Timber harvest road use has declined along with funds to maintain the road system as road maintenance funds generated from timber sales no longer are available at previous levels. Over 2 million people recreate on the Mt. Hood NF annually with more demand for recreation use that continues to rise dramatically.

The Mt. Hood NF currently has approximately 2,908 miles of roads, of which 87% are open to the public for licensed vehicle use. This year the Forest was funded to maintain approx. 460 miles of roads. Road maintenance is deferred every year and this is unsustainable in the long term.

 Forest Service specialists have begun evaluating and analyzing the existing information we have about our road system and compiling information that will be useful to the public and the agency in developing the Transportation Investment Strategy. The 2003 Roads Analysis is our starting point and we are in the process of evaluating changed conditions and determining if they should lead to a change in access need or resource risk ratings for some roads.

Road Access Needs and Resource Risks

Forest Service resource specialists evaluated all of the roads on the Mt. Hood National Forest in 2003. The analysis included site specific evaluation of a road’s importance for public and administrative access, as well as the resource concerns of that road. Each road segment received an evaluation, or rating, of its importance for access, and the risks to particular resources. The on-going Travel Analysis Process will update this report where necessary due to new information and make the needed adjustments in that road’s ratings.

The Travel Analysis Report will include a financial analysis of road maintenance costs, projected funding and a road investment plan. The Travel Analysis Report will be an information gathering exercise and will not make any decisions about the future of individual roads or road systems on the Forest. Any actions to change the permanent road system will be subject to site specific analysis, public review and comment.

The Travel Analysis Process is not a decision-making process.  But rather informs future decisions relating to administration of the forest transportation system and helps identify issues and concerns when proposals for changes to the road system are being considered. Balancing an array of needs – access needs, affordability, and resource impacts- the ultimate decision maker will make the final decision and will weigh these considerations when the site/area is analyzed in a full environmental analysis process.

The TAP will be used to:

  • Guide future project level proposed actions, purpose & needs statements, and decisions along with other analysis documents pertaining to road construction, re-construction, decommissioning, and maintenance

  • Direct road investments at forest and district levels
  • Help guide delivery of Forest Restoration programs for multiple resources
  • Inform agency strategies to comply with regulatory requirements, including those associated with the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act

The future road system that the TAP recommends will position the Forest to move towards a more durable and lasting road network that meets basic public safety standards and provides appropriate access for agency and public use.  This exercise will also enable forest managers to strategically allocate funds to maintain or improve roads that are likely needed for the future and those that may not be. 

 

Additional Resources





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mthood/home/?cid=STELPRD3818668