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RECREATION: Why close roads?

| February 21, 2021 1:00 AM

Roads are needed for many types of access for forest recreation and management, but they can cause problems for watersheds, fish and wildlife. Open roads increase hunter access and reduce the number of places elk and deer can hide. As a result, they are vulnerable and easier to harvest.

Being easier to harvest, the result is fewer old bulls and old bucks in the herds. Overharvesting can be offset by more restrictive regulations and some roads being closed, but that means fewer elk and deer hunting opportunities. The alternative is managing access wisely by closing some roads for all or part of the year.

Fewer open roads means:

Less sedimentation of streams protecting important fish habitat.

Less disturbance to wildlife’s critical habitats like calving areas and winter ranges.

More varied recreational opportunities on National forest lands.

More trophy bulls, longer seasons and more hunting opportunities.

To help a person find their way around National Forest lands, the U.S. Forest Service provides excellent travel maps.

GARY SYLTE

Kootenai County