Originally Posted by Rob Nye
Merely critiquing the writers opinion, not the writer.
Keep munching, you'll get no entertainment here.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have hundreds of thousands of miles of forest roads. Timber was our biggest industry for decades, and forest products are still an important part of our regional economy.
We've learned over the past few decades that roads cut into mountainsides have horrible environmental costs.
There's no argument that forest roads on hillsides exacerbate erosion and landslides.
There's no argument that the increased sedimentation of rivers and streams brought on by the increased erosion makes it harder - if not impossible - for salmon to lay their eggs in their spawning streams.
Salmon feed seals, sea lions, Orca whales, other fish, and humans. The decaying bodies of spawned out salmon nourish and enrich our rivers and streams. They are an important part of our ecosystem.
Here in Washington State, these truths are so self-evident that the timber companies agreed to legislation imposing limits and requirements on forest roads. Fish passage cannot be restricted, forestry cannot take place within buffer zones around streams and rivers, culverts must be retrofitted to accommodate salmon, roads must be decommissioned when no longer used, etc.
Key to this is the notion that mechanized equipment - for resource extraction or for recreation - is inherently harmful to the environment. I don't think there are any credible experts claiming otherwise.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, these issues aren't all that controversial. We all recognize the importance of the salmon to our environment and to our culture.
We all recognize that human activity in sensitive areas can lead to decades - and even centuries - of degradation.
The key is finding a balance among users. Some areas have been set aside for motorized off-road recreation. Those seeking solitude and peace and quiet know to avoid these areas. Some areas have been placed off-limits to any mechanized equipment (federal wilderness areas).
Most U.S. Forest Service roads in the Pacific Northwest ARE open to mechanized recreation, and I've yet to see any proposals to close roads that are currently open.
I do know that one critical component of this issue is an absence of money to maintain and repair U.S. Forest Service roads. Every winter, our storms wash out or otherwise make impassable thousands of miles of U.S. Forest Service roads. Every spring, local communities who receive economic benefits from users of these resources passing through their businesses lobby and campaign for the repair and/or restoration of these roads, but there simply aren't funds available to rebuild or repair roads that are used by only a tiny minority of the population.
I /we own some forest land & it is in the "Tree Farm system",i.e. certified practices in place,etc.. I use trees from that land and have several forest roads. I never(yes never) allow others to come on this land and ride bikes or ATV's and don't intend to start. We would allow you to bike camp(Anonymous) or hike here. The reasons have all been mostly covered previously in this thread.
When you log in the nearby Daniel Boone National forest there are protections that are followed by the loggers & while KY has a Master Logger program, some are doing a better job than others, in practice. Just down the road from me(if you were a crow) they were required to use a protective mat for there haul out roads many years ago. This isn't new stuff to protect the Daniel Boone which is 58% of my county.
Sure, some bikers & some ATV'ers don't tear up your place as much as others but I just like the woods(mine & "ours"as in national forest to be a quiet place, rather than a place to hear engines & as a forest user, I'm obviously not in the tree hugger crowd either.
These comments of mine may not be particularly political but are personal & this thread cannot stay tame very easily as some have decidedly strong feelings about the use of public lands. Not saying mine should be the last word here but we are getting close? I will argue that the GS vs. horse poo mentioned above is sort of lame in both directions as neither the big bikes nor the horses are exactly kind to the land surface if enough traffic takes place. If the traffic was occasional I'd vote for the horse as the kinder of the two. There is a reason why horse logging is a specified practice in some situations & also a reason why horse traffic & MV traffic are limited or restricted in some places.
Balance as mentioned above is one key.