Public uproar influences National Forest's plans to close roads
April 18, 2012 -
WALLOWA-WHITMAN NATIONAL FOREST, Wash. - A public uproar over plans to close thousands of miles of roads on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Eastern Oregon has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to reconsider.
A Forest Service spokesman says Northwest Regional Forester Kent Connaughton pulled the new travel management plan.
Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor Monica J. Schwalbach said there has been a lot of confusion over the closures, and that the Forest Service is taking more time to consider the issues, in order to produce a better plan in the long run.
Faced with an explosion of off-road vehicle use that was harming wildlife and causing erosion, the Forest Service began a nationwide assessment of its roads in 2005. Last month, the Wallowa-Whitman released a plan that would have closed 3,600 miles of roads out of a total of 9,000.