Future Of Old Logging Roads In National Forests, etc.

Sytes

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<Title edited>

Backdrop:
The clear-cut common practice of earlier years left us with many roads and skidding lanes.
These roads/lanes of the past have been under heavy regen / churned up roadless operations since what? 2005?

While I enjoy my hikes off the beaten path to reach certain favored locations, I also value those old roads, now gated or burmed / blocked from vehicle traffic to access fishing / hunting locations.

I'm curious how this will effect future generations and our current. With age and injuries that build over time, those leveled gated / closed routes to get away from the motorized routes (road hunters, etc) become more and more appealing.

However, as time progresses, these routes are diminishing. I'm still able weave through the young growth of trees planted and the build of shrubs on these old roads, many FS churned up, and skid lanes of the past though each year, less and less as it thickens.

And my opinion... Leave the roadless, gated, burmed, pitted, rock blocked roads of the past to their natural decay. Watershed, regrowth, etc have not impaired the life of our forests... it's adapted.
These 10-20' wide routes do not damn the forest's watershed ecology, etc... Wildlife utilize them as access routing significantly moreso than humans who use for getting away from the motor world.
 
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Losing_Sanity

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Well put!

I really enjoy the easier hiking/walking of these old roads and find it relaxing, enjoying the wildlife and quiet scenery.

One of the unfortunate parts of this situation is that some folks with four wheelers and motorcycles see these areas as an opportunity to venture off the legal roads. If, it was legal, and they just stayed to the trail it wouldn't impact the area nearly as bad. But they seem to want to make their own way and tear up the countryside.
 

Gerald Martin

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Pretty sure that re-wilding roads is because of the requirement of staying within the limits of road inventories because of FS legal requirements. As new roads are built, some are not just gated for future use, some are destroyed to stay within the road limit according to a location’s usage plan.
 

rideold

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Agreed. Let them return to wild areas. I use them too but would be happy if they grew in. The FS does need to truly block them off instead of the token but on many. There's on that I prop the signs back up every year and add logs or whatever I can find. Every fall the logs and signs are once again tossed aside. One of these days I'll bring some T posts and a post pounder elk hunting.
 

shoots-straight

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Pretty sure that re-wilding roads is because of the requirement of staying within the limits of road inventories because of FS legal requirements. As new roads are built, some are not just gated for future use, some are destroyed to stay within the road limit according to a location’s usage plan.
Gerald is spot on with this post. Buzz could tell you all the in's and the outs, but many areas are over the "Plan Standard" of miles of roads per square miles land. Many roads were hurriedly put in to keep Wilderness advocates from including vast areas in Wilderness Study areas. I believe they used the term "Hard Money" roads. They were put in without much concern about going over that plan standard, and some were outright illegal. Some roads were put in temporarily to take out timber from burns and left. Putting the administrators in binds.

Many of my favorite hunting spots ended up with "Hard Money" roads going right through some the best Elk security, habitat where big old bulls lived. It never failed that the first year after the road construction/logging operation took place, many hunters, that look for easy routes to hunt, utilized these newly roaded areas, and ended up killing many of the bulls the areas had to offer. Evidently those bulls that used those areas for escape were dumbfounded at the sudden lack of cover and security and ended up mostly dead. Had it not been for the new road, very few hunters would have hunted in those areas, and those that did had to work for every elk they took.

A road punched into areas will have more hunting pressure than areas that aren't roaded. Will also hold less elk. Therefore I'm in favor of road demolition where over their standard.

If the road is there, ATV, bikes, hikers, hunters will keep the road cleared for use. Security cover for Elk will suffer.
 

Sytes

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The title is intended to discuss the roads that were left from the old logging days. I'm not discussing logging or Wilderness designated areas. I could have worded it differently... Cheers for that observation. I'll see if I can edit that part.

Roads of old are used by some of the most respected hunters on this forum. I personally know as one involved in planning trek's with those members from wolf, bear, and elk hunting.
The roads have been mutually shared when planning our treks, pointed out to access routing to reach other areas, etc... Maybe a couple of those hunt friends would prefer they didn't exist and support the regen action and well respected for such opinion though others have expressed the value those old roads provide.

I am not familiar with a road quota type situation as Gerald pointed out and I'll have to dig into that and catch up on this regulation. I would be curious how the road quotas are determined. Research is always enjoyed.
@Gerald Martin you or anyone else have a link to this? Cheers.

As for bullshit rhetoric about buying better boots, etc. I've done and continue to hike via all means to access locations.

This article spurred my thoughts on the value these old roads provide. There are positions I agree with and of course, disagree. I'll have to read up on "Amendment 19".


Cheers all.

Shoot Straight, thanks for going into more detail. We differ on the use of these roads though appreciate the additional info. I will read up on it further. I'm game if Buzz chimed in regarding the intricacies of this topic.
 
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tjones

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As for bullshit rhetoric about buying better boots, etc. I've done and continue to hike via all means to access locations.

Call it bullshit or whatever you like but get away from roads old and new you will start killing bull elk regularly.

Gerald is correct when roads are reclaimed generally it has all to do with road inventory. Roads open or gated, old or new make it easier for the masses to get to country. I know spots that had lots of gated roads and no elk, once the roads were reclaimed elk started showing up.
 
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Greenhorn

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Heaven forbid some of our elderly and not so in shape hunting family have some easier access to the woods....
Hunting is not just for the cross fit bro brah crowd
When I get even older last thing I’ll do is expect to be able to drive everywhere. It’s a lame ass whiney bitch entitlement argument..

https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/chronicle_columnists/parker_heinlein/don-t-give-up-on-roadless-wilderness-just-because-grandpa/article_2608016c-7fde-59ab-a273-1e19bfe78547.html
 

Straight Arrow

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The reality is that the amount of truly wild country which includes desirable habitat (and security) for elk and other wildlife is miniscule. "Access to the woods" is rampant, easy, and readily found, regardless of age, physical condition, or fortitude of the hunter. Roads of any description ... primitive, maintained, gated, non-motorized, or whatever ... will be and are heavily used and abused and continue to degrade the character of wild lands and optimum wildlife habitat. Personally, my attitude is that if you want it easy to hunt, without regard to the support of wildlife and wildlife habitat, then it's time to find another form of outdoor recreation more suited to your abilities (or inabilities).

The above asserted by an old guy avid elk hunter with silver hair and sore knees.
 

Sytes

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When I get even older last thing I’ll do is expect to be able to drive everywhere. It’s a lame ass whiney bitch entitlement argument..

https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/chronicle_columnists/parker_heinlein/don-t-give-up-on-roadless-wilderness-just-because-grandpa/article_2608016c-7fde-59ab-a273-1e19bfe78547.html
It's not for the purpose to drive anywhere. It's for the those roads permanently closed to motorized that have large culverts dug out or permanently blocked by other means.

SA, you hold a purist point of view for our forests. Fitting the Wilderness Act. Opinion is respected though seems we disagree. I, and those I know who use these permanently closed old roads value our wildlife. With that said, seems your position relates to others who do not value our wildlife. 😉
 
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Nameless Range

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I get it, and enjoy walking closed logging roads for whatever purposes suit me.

That said, a logging road that is simply gated reduces the wildness of a place as opposed to one that has been entirely destroyed. First off, mountain bikers can go pretty much anywhere on national forest lands. They do not have to stick to trails. Secondly, gates are ripped out or driven around by rogue motorized users.

I can’t remember the exact number, but the Helena district ranger told me that there were millions of acres per LEO on the Helena national Forest. The Beaverhead Deer Lodge national Forest doesn’t even have a travel management plan codified yet.

A lot of the time, maybe even most of the time, gates and signs are not enough, and there have been times I have been happy to see the ability to access - legal or not- of the wheeled crowd removed from the equation.
 

Straight Arrow

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SA, you hold a purist point of view for our forests. Fitting the Wilderness Act. Opinion is respected though seems we disagree. I, and those I know who use these permanently closed old roads value our wildlife. With that said, seems your position relates to others who do not value our wildlife. 😉
No, I think we mostly agree and I use roads and established trails as much or more than most. It's merely the point that there is and should be a maximum number of roads. And, yes, there are areas which IMO should not get roads ... ever! Enough is enough! Furthermore, the reality is that most roads ... whether blocked, obliterated, regenerated, churned, or whatever ... continue to be used as roads in some fashion.
 
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Sytes

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Agree with the criminal aspect involved with these permanently closed old roads.
That is not the intent of this FS operation... Thus far, from the little I read since learning about this operation, it's about supporting the ecology, i.e. watershed, etc.
It's an advantage received by chruning it enough to discourage motorized illegal use.
100% on the basis of the massive extent our FS LEO's are faced to enforce. Absolutely beyond any reasonable range to cover none the less beyond all other aspects to enforce elsewhere. FS LEO's are damned by perceived, "pinecone cop" public mentality that's far from the truth.

 

corndog1

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When I get even older last thing I’ll do is expect to be able to drive everywhere. It’s a lame ass whiney bitch entitlement argument..

https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/chronicle_columnists/parker_heinlein/don-t-give-up-on-roadless-wilderness-just-because-grandpa/article_2608016c-7fde-59ab-a273-1e19bfe78547.html
I wasn't talking about driving I was talking about using closed off roads and walking down them not driving. Was actually thinking about others instead of myself. Might give it a try some time
 

RockinU

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It's kind of a complicated thing...it's also thinking about others wanting things to not be too easy. I want my kids to have the same opportunities to get away from the crowds by going a little harder where it's hard that I've had. There's a balance point in there somewhere.
 

corndog1

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It's kind of a complicated thing...it's also thinking about others wanting things to not be too easy. I want my kids to have the same opportunities to get away from the crowds by going a little harder where it's hard that I've had. There's a balance point in there somewhere.
I agree, not for putting in New roads just being able for some to use gated roads that already exist.
 
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