Advocacy Alert! Upper Nookack Access and Travel Management Planning (ATM)
With ever-shrinking budgets, the US Forest Service is currently evaluating their roads and access points along the Upper Nooksack River / Highway 542. Some of those being looked at are Glacier Creek Road, Canyon Creek Road, Hannegan Pass Road, Dead Horse Road, etc.
If you recreate along the 542 and care about these various roads for access, you should attend one of the meetings or give the USFS your feedback. Read below for more details.
If you are on Facebook, you can find the meeting details here:
- February 16th (Kendall): https://www.facebook.com/events/1093114064062777/
- February 18th (Bellingham): https://www.facebook.com/events/537539916413443/
From the Forest Service press release:
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is taking a closer look at the Forest road system in the Upper Nooksack area and is looking for feedback from the public. USFS will hold two public meetings on the Draft Environmental Assessment as part of the Access Travel Management process for the Upper Nooksack on the Mt. Baker District of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Dates and locations are as follows:
• February 16, 6-8pm: East Whatcom Regional Resource Center (Kendall, WA)
• February 18, 6-8pm: Port of Bellingham Ferry Terminal, Dome Room (Bellingham, WA)
Maintaining roads across the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie has been challenging as budgets decline. Less maintenance can result in more effects on the environment—such as more sediment in streams that are home to chinook salmon, for instance—and also reduces the reliability of access for forest users. This year alone, there are several closures on the Mt. Baker Ranger District roads, including the heavily used Canyon Creek and Glacier Creek roads, as less maintenance has left roads more vulnerable to severe weather events.
The Draft Environmental Assessment considers access needs for a range of forest uses—recreation, forestry, and traditional and cultural uses—in balance with reducing impacts to the land as well as the Forest Service budget. The final decision, expected this spring, would include a range of possible actions, from possibly improving some roads to decommissioning or storing others.
Currently, approximately 2,500 miles of roads crisscross the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, from the Canadian border to the Mt. Rainier National Park on the western Cascades. The USFS can afford to maintain about a quarter of them. In September 2012, the Forest collected information through public forums and from resource specialists to develop a plan for roads, called the “Sustainable Roads System,” or SRS. The SRS identified minimum access needs, or road maintenance levels, based on access needs of recreation, fire, cultural resources, and vegetation management. The SRS plan is the bedrock for the proposal under analysis for the Upper North Fork Nooksack area.
Information about commenting on the Draft Environmental Assessment :
The Draft Environmental Assessment is available for review and comment on at the project website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=47563 under the heading “North Fork Nooksack ATM”).
In an effort to reduce paper use, the USFS will emphasize electronic correspondence throughout this project. Please include with your comment: 1) a valid e-mail or mailing address, and 2) your document format preference (online, CD, or paper copy). The project website will be the primary avenue through which the Forest Service will provide information about the project. Electronic comments are preferred and should be submitted with the following subject line, “North Fork Nooksack ATM”, and as part of the actual e-mail message, or in another readable format such as plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), .pdf, or Word (.doc or .docx) to:
Written comments should be mailed or dropped off in person to:
Erin Uloth, District Ranger
Mt. Baker Ranger District
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1263
Office hours for submitting hand-delivered comments are 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Oral comments can be provided at the Mt. Baker Ranger District (address above) during normal business hours, or via telephone at (360) 854-2601.
Comments received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the Project Record and available for public review. For more information contact: Erin Uloth, District Ranger, Mt. Baker Ranger District. (360) 854-2601.
Learn more about the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.