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USDA Forest Service Upgrades Some Roads, Decommissions Others

TitleUSDA Forest Service Upgrades Some Roads, Decommissions Others
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2004-09-07
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #83 - "Road Decommissioning" (Air Date: September 7, 2004). Mary Morgan from the US Forest Service discusses that agency's efforts to assess, manage, and decommission over 400 miles of dirt road in the Tahoe region.
SubjectDirt roads -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
Roads -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2005-03-14
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 83: Road Decommissioning Air Date: September 7, 2004 Tease @ 13:30 "The forest service is nearing the end of a 10 year plan to improve all the unsurfaced roads in the Tahoe Basin. I'm Shelly Purdy, I'll have details in tonight's Lake Tahoe Report." Anchor Intro: The U.S. Forest Service is responsible for the more than 400 miles of unsurfaced roads in the Tahoe Basin. They are currently in the process of either upgrading, decommissioning or converting those roads to other uses. Shelly Purdy explains in tonight's Lake Tahoe Report. ((Take PKG)) ((Track 1)) In 1997 the forest service inventoried all the dirt roads in the Tahoe Basin…which basically meant forest service staff pounded miles and miles of dirt on foot. ((sot @ 2:18 Mary Morgan, Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor)) "By all the roads I mean all the 2-tracks we could find. All user created roads as well as our system roads for the USFS and ended up with about 419 miles of road." ((track 2)) The roads were assessed using several criteria. Did the road have erosion problems? Was it a popular thoroughfare used by the public? Did the road provide access for forest management and firefighting? Once all those questions were answered, the forest service went into action. Sonce 1997, 150 miles of those roads have been improved with culverts or other drainage measures to reduce erosion. 75 miles of road have been completely decommissioned. ((sot @ 3:35) "If we find out that the public doesn't need it, we don't need it, it goes to a redundant location, we'll actually decommission that road and take it out of service. Once a road has been decommissioned you can barely tell it was there." ((sot @ 13:11 Shelly Purdy)) "One of the other options is to turn a road like this that used to be 12 feet wide into trails for mountain bikers and hikers." ((track3)) So far, 30 miles of old dirt roads have been converted to trail. Even though this trail and road work is being done sometimes many miles away from Lake Tahoe, the purpose of it all is to improve water clarity. Erosion that can be controlled up here will mean less dirt and sediment going into the lake down below. With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO NC8. Anchor Tag: One problem the forest service runs into a lot in the Tahoe Basin is user-created roads. Those roads are made when someone with an off-road vehicle goes across an untracked area. The path they create encourages others to follow and soon a road develops. The forest service wants the public to know that driving off designated dirt roads is against the law, and they encourage all off-roaders to follow posted signs.

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