By Howard Meyerson
Maybe you’ve heard the scuttlebutt about the U.S. Forest Service closing more roads in Huron-Manistee National Forest. The message, which got posted on social media by off-road vehicle enthusiasts, urgently suggests that those who care should write the forest and oppose any road closures.
Ken Arbogast, the national forest’s public affairs officer, says that has happened, but the first part isn’t quite true. No roads are being proposed for closure. At least not right now. Forest staffers are inventorying roads and assessing the need for each. What’s needed, according Arbogast, is feedback from users about the roads and two-tracks they would like to see kept open. The February 15 comment deadline has been extended until March 15 to allow for that.
“There’s been a lot of misinterpretation showing up on blogs,” Arbogast said. “We know we may eventually have to close some roads, but this isn’t a decision (to do so). We’re doing an analysis of all the roads, from two tracks that are already closed up to paved roads. Our fire staff is looking at roads to see if they are necessary for fighting fires. Are there some that are a vector for introducing invasive species? We also are looking to see what roads we don’t want on the system.
“We’ll gather information and get answers from our specialists, the archeologist, biologist, recreation manager, and then make decisions. We need to know what roads we can afford to maintain – a minimum transportation system. That’s what this study is.” Continue reading