Thursday, January 22, 2009

Appropriations Pay for Roads, Trails, Facilities

AAI just received this email about storm damage in Washington's National Forests:

Olympic and Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forests repair old storm damage

The Olympic and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests can start work this year repairing storm damaged roads, trails and facilities with special funds appropriated by Congress in September 2008. The Pacific Northwest Region approved 10.3 million dollars worth of projects last week, with those two forests obtaining 60 percent of the funds to pay for storm damage, some of it dating back to 2003.

With this money the Forest Service will improve public access and benefit the environment. “Repairing roads and removing other roads will reduce the risk of future road failures, controls road-related sediment production, and restores riparian vegetation, all of which will improve water quality and fish habitat,” said Amy Lieb, soil and sater program manager for the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

“It is crucial to repair and maintain our roads to high quality standards so they provide healthy watersheds and clean water. The Olympic National Forest has been hit hard over the past several years and these dollars are welcome as we make these much-needed improvements,” said Dale Hom, forest supervisor. Funds for that forest total $4,646,163, with $4,104,663 going to repair roads damaged during the 2007 and 2008 floods. The forest will remove 31 miles of road and treat nine miles of road to require minimal maintenance. This money will also upgrade eight culverts and repair one bridge. Engineers expect to finish road repairs in two to three years.

The $273,500 for trails on the Olympic National Forest will restore three major trails, including the Bogachiel Rain Forest Trail, which is part of the Pacific Northwest Trail system and popular access to the Olympic National Forest and the National Park. Trail repairs include:

--Quinault National Recreation Trail, repair, reroute and remove heavy blowdown.
--Quinault Rain Forest Interpretive Trail, the most heavily used trail on the Olympic National Forest, will be resurfaced and rerouted, with signs, a handrail and bulletin board repaired.
--Bogachiel Rain Forest Trail, remove blowdown trees, resurface the trail and repair water crossings.

The Olympic National Forest’s $268,000 facilities funding will fix roofs on seven administrative buildings in the Quinault area, repair the Hoodsport workcenter and restore the Hamma Hamma, Willaby and Klahowya campgrounds. The forest plans to finish the trails and facilities projects by 2010.

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest funding totals $2,711,396. “Our focus will be on sustainable fixes. We are very pleased to have received the funding to start the repair work,” said Forest Supervisor Rob Iwamoto. He added that these repairs are important to ensure public safety. The $2,057,996 for roads will rebuild three bridges; repair one road and remove nine miles of road no longer needed for management or public access purposes, and should be finished by the end of this year. Some of these projects will restore road access to Glacier Peak Wilderness trailheads inaccessible for nearly six years.

Funds totaling $653,400 will repair trail damage on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. These funds will allow planning to be completed and permanent repairs to be made on several popular trails, including Big Four Ice Caves and Skookum Flats, damaged in 2006 storms. The Forest will complete bridge repairs to the Heliotrope Ridge Trail, on the north side of Mt. Baker, and design a new crossing of the West Fork Foss River. The West Fork Foss River trail leads to popular Trout, Copper and Heart Lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Work on these projects is expected to be complete by the end of 2010. Other trail repairs include:

--Suiattle River Trail, repair washed out tread, remove windfall and heavy brush.
--Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, do maintenance work between Milk Creek and Vista Creek.
--North Fork Sauk Trail, repair puncheon bridges and replace a footlog.
--Baker Lake Trail, move washed-out sections of trail. Repair Blum and Hidden Creek bridges.
--West Cady Ridge/Pass Creek Trails, repair drainage structures.
--Whitechuck Bench Trail, complete planning to relocate washed out sections of trail. Remove brush and remove windfall trees from two miles of trail.
--Iron Goat Trail, replace puncheon bridge near Wellington.

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