The Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest wants to find out how people are using its roads…and whether the system is sustainable.
It’s doing a study to find out how people are using the nine thousand miles of Forest Service road…that range from paved surface to gravel or dirt trail.
Chequamegon Nicolet spokesperson Hilary Markin says road budgets are going down while maintenance costs are going up. That has led to a growing list of overdue projects.
“This last storm that went through really brought some of those to light. We did do a huge push here in September to try and fix as many of those culverts to make those roads safe for our travelers. And we continue to do that on a constant basis – but there’s a bigger need out there than what we having funding for.”
Markin says it’s not clear that the Forest Service will close any roads, but it wants more information about how people are using them.
“So do they use it access their private land, do they use it as a hunting road, do they use it for gathering raspberries or other forest products? So what we’re trying to do is gather those values.”
She says public use will be analyzed alongside financial cost environmental impact. Any proposal that comes out of the analysis will go back to the public for review.
The Forest Service is taking input online about the road system, and is also holding an input session in each of its ranger districts.
There is one in at the Lincoln Town Hall in Eagle River on October 15th.
And one at the Laona Office on October 22nd.