Identifying a Sustainable Roads System - Analysis Process

In 2003, the Forest completed Subpart B of the Travel Management Rule by developing a motorized use map that shows the Forest Service roads and trails that are open to motor vehicle use.

In 2012, the Forest began data collection and analysis for conducting transportation analysis as defined in Subpart A of the Travel Management Rule. Science-based resource assessments were updated and expanded from the previous roads analysis (Road Management Strategy) and the 2003 Access and Travel Management process.  

Subpart A requires the Forest to conduct a road system analysis that identifies the minimum road system needed for travel and for administration, utilization, and protection of National Forest System lands.

The minimum road system is further defined as the road system determined to be needed to:

  • Meet resource and other management objectives as adopted in land and resource management plans.
  • Meet statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Reflect long-term funding expectations.
  • Ensure the identified system minimizes adverse environmental impacts associated with road construction, reconstruction, decommissioning, and maintenance.

The road system analysis is required to use an interdisciplinary, science-based process with the Forest determining the appropriate scope, scale, and depth of analysis. 

Forest Service Handbook 7709.55(20.3)

Olympic National Forest is using the following approach:

1) Forest specialists assess each segment of the Forest Service road system, with an initial focus on identifying and evaluating the wide variety of potential access needs and potential resource risks.

  • Potential access needs include: Public access for recreation; Administrative access; Access to private, State, county, or tribal lands; Special Uses, Cost-share roads, and legally required access; and Timber management.
  • Potential resource risks include: Aquatic risk to fish habitat and water quality, and Terrestrial risk to wildlife, rare plants, and special management areas.

2) Forest Service specialists rate each potential access need and potential resource risk for each road segment as high, medium, or low based on specific evaluation criteria. View a summary of each resource assessment method. (updated March 9, 2015 PDF)

3) Public engagement to identify areas and roads used.

4) Integrate Forest and public access input to produce a travel analysis report. The report will include:

  • A map displaying all system roads that differentiates between those roads which will potentially remain and those that may be removed or changed. Roads that may be retained over the long term are further differentiated between those that may be open year-round or seasonally, and those that are only used intermittently and placed in storage (closed) between intermittent project uses.
  • Information about the analysis as it relates to the criteria found in 36 Code of Federal Regulations Title 36 Part 212.5(b).
  • A list of the key issues.
  • A prioritized list of the risks and benefits associated with changing the part of the forest transportation system under analysis.
  • A prioritized list of opportunities for addressing those risks and benefits.

The report provides the basis for developing proposed actions to implement the minimum road system and/or to change existing travel management decisions.

These proposals are subject to appropriate public involvement and environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before travel management decisions are made.  

Want to know more?  Check out the Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about this analysis process?  Contact Us

Forest Road 30 in Forks, Washington area


Photo: Forest Road 30 in Forks, Washington area May 2014.