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Happy birthday, Legacy Roads and Trails

Apr 22, 2013

Here is an anniversary that fish and wildlife can celebrate! One of the Forest Service’s most important and successful initiatives, for Washington and around the nation, Legacy Roads and Trails Program, is five years old. Pulling and fixing roads requires skilled high paid operators, which contributes to local economies.

Here is an anniversary that fish and wildlife can celebrate! One of the Forest Service’s most important and successful initiatives, Legacy Roads and Trails Program, is five years old.

“Removing unnecessary roads provides huge benefits to fish and wildlife, and good jobs for skilled workers,” said Conservation Northwest's Dave Werntz. “The Legacy Roads Program is a model for effective watershed restoration.” 

The program has a single focus of dismantling and repairing the nation’s vastly overbuilt and decrepit road network (nearly nine times longer than the US Highway system).

State map scope of Legacy projects

Roads fragment wildlife habitat, channel stormwater and dirt into streams, trigger landslides, and spread invasive plants and pathogens. Pulling and fixing roads requires skilled high paid operators, which contributes to local economies.

Across the nation, the Legacy Roads and Trails Program has decommissioned 4,500 road miles, removed fish barriers to 1,000 miles of upstream habitat, hydrologically improved 12,000 additional road miles, and created or maintained about 1,000 high-wage jobs per year.

On the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the program funded the start of decommissioning or closing 40 road miles in the South Fork Skykomish River, giving a boost to endangered chinook and coho salmon and bull trout.  That project will complete as more funding is made available each year.

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