Tuesday, June 24, 2014

BARK Tours....

Tom Wolf passes this info on for areas on Mt Hood that may be of interest for activities and restorations on the mountain; information on BARK Tours and the organization sent by Russ Plaeger/Program Director [<What is BARK?>]:
With more 3100 miles of roads, thousands of culverts, and hundreds of bridges the Forest Service road system in the Mt. Hood National Forest represents a huge public investment, liability, and an opportunity. Many of the roads were built in the heyday of logging and, like ‘empty nesters’ in a large house, the Forest Service is faced with the question, “Do we still need and can we afford all of these roads?” Bark is offering tours on Saturday, June 21 and 28 and Wednesday, June 25 to provide you with an opportunity to learn more about this issue; see below for tour details.

Each of us uses some of these roads to get us to a favorite trailhead, campground, fishing stream, or mushroom spot. But we’ve also experienced places where the road surface is cracked because it is sliding down hill or seen failing culverts where sediment is being washed into a fish bearing stream. We want safe, reliable access for recreation but the agency is finding it harder to maintain an over large road system as budgets continue to decline. The Mt. Hood National Forest now faces a very large road maintenance backlog!

Since 2008 the budget for road maintenance has decreased by 33% and in 2010 the Forest Service estimated that it needed $ 3.0 million to maintain roads in the Mt. Hood area but their annual budget was only $ 1.0 million. The maintenance backlog increases every year.

Former Forest Supervisor Gary Larsen took a proactive approach to the dual problem of declining budgets and the on-going impacts of roads to water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. The Mt. Hood was a leader in decommissioning old, unneeded logging roads to restore watershed health. Lisa Northrop, the current Forest Supervisor, will be making two significant decisions about the road system in the coming months.

We want her to make the most of those opportunities and keep the Mt. Hood on a path to “right size” the road system to a size that serves the public, meets land management needs, and is both environmentally and financially sustainable. Please join us for one of our tours to discuss the Travel Analysis Process (TAP) and learn about the road infrastructure. We’ll consider how we can work together to ensure that the agency makes good decisions on the forest-wide TAP and also Road Decommissioning Increment 3 for the White River area on the east side of the mountain.

The agency plans to begin soliciting public input on the Travel Analysis Process in July. Our tours will give you some useful insights into the TAP process so that you’re ready to get involved.

On the Zigzag tour we’ll look at a large culvert that required an expensive repair after it washed out and sent many yards of sediment down to the Clear Fork of the Sandy River that is prime habitat for Spring Chinook and coho salmon and winter steelhead. We’ll also see a road that was restored to improve water quality.

I hope that you can join us for one of these on-site discussions of the road system in the Mt. Hood National Forest. If possible, please let me know which tour you plan to participate in so I can print enough handouts.


  • Saturday, June 21 - Zigzag / Upper Sandy River area
  • 9 am - 1 pm
    Meet at the Zigzag Ranger Station, 70220 E. Highway 26, Zigzag

  • Wednesday, June 25 - Zigzag / Upper Sandy River area
  • 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
    Meet at the Zigzag Ranger Station, 70220 E. Highway 26, Zigzag

  • Saturday, June 28 - Clackamas River area 
  • 9 am - 1 pm
    Meet at the Clackamas River Ranger Station, 595 NW Industrial Way off Highway 224 in Estacada
Tours will include stops at a number of sites to look at culvert washouts, a trailhead, campground, and a decommissioned road.

Please wear boots or sturdy shoes as some walking will be involved.

To help with planning it would be great if you let me know which tour you’d like to participate in.

If you’d like additional information please call me or email.

russ plaeger | program director
bark | www.bark-out.org | 503.331.0374
mailing | po box 12065, portland, or 97212
physical | 205 se grand, suite 207, portland, or 97214

FYI - Bark's website has more info about roads - http://www.bark-out.org/project/removing-and-rewilding-old-roads