Forest service roads to be decommissioned

Hot Springs, Va. –

Road decommissioning proposed in Alleghany and Bath Counties.

This is District Ranger Patrick Sheridan from the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts.

The James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts will begin a project this fall to decommission 39 Forest Service Roads totaling approximately 27 miles. All of the roads scheduled for decommissioning have been closed to the public and are no longer needed for administrative purposes. When a road is decommissioned, it is permanently closed it on the ground and removed from the transportation system database.

Road maintenance funding has decreased while public use is increasing. Increased use and a deteriorating infrastructure escalate safety risks, impact wildlife and degrade water quality. Our goal is to provide safe roads that are affordable to maintain and are environmentally sustainable. Future proposals to reduce our miles of road on the George Washington-Jefferson National Forest are likely.

The Mares Run Timber Sale will be auctioned to the highest bidder in mid-November. This project will commercially harvest 165 acres of timber, construct .4 miles of temporary road, create seven wildlife clearings, build eight wildlife waterholes, prescribe burn 518 acres, treat thirty two acres of invasive plants and conduct fifty acres of timber stand improvement thinning. The environmental decision was signed in June 2012. This project is located in Bath County, three miles east of Warm Springs, Virginia.

The application of gravel is the only remaining work to complete road maintenance projects on the entry to the Laurel Fork in Highland County. The Warm Springs Ranger District is rerouting a mile of Forest Service Road 457 that is steep, potentially unsafe and contributes to soil erosion. The rerouted road will reduce the steep portions and make the road easier to maintain. Additional work is planned in 2013 pending available funding. The project will be completed by the end of October 2012.

Four prescribed burns are planned for the fall of 2012. Cobbler Mountain is 450 acres and is located in Hidden Valley in Bath County. The Gathright prescribed burn is located at the north end of Lake Moomaw in Bath County and is seventy acres in size. Additional burning is planned on Warm Springs Mountain on both Nature Conservancy and National Forest lands in the vicinity of Ingalls Field.

Timber sale contracts are active on Back Creek Mountain in Bath County and on the So Big project in Alleghany County. Timber projects sold or pending in 2012 include Mares Run in Bath County and Tri County in Alleghany County. Timber management areas being planned in 2013 include Little Mountain in Bath, Mad Anne in Alleghany, Duncan Knob in Bath, Lime Kiln in Bath and Brattons Run in Alleghany.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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