20 Years from Now…

If you could fast forward 20 years, what would you see when visiting the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest?

What is your vision for the future?

Let us know what you think down in the comments.



21 responses to “20 Years from Now…

  1. USFS roads would be sustainable and well-maintained, and vastly reduced in mileage. Unneeded roads would be fully decommissioned and hydrologically stable. Frequent, small electric or biodiesel (or hopefully by then, solar)-powered shuttles will carry hikers to the more popular trailheads. Many trails will have been lengthened by closing the secondary roads that lead to them (which in many cases shortened the trails decades ago when roads were built for logging where hikers used to tread), increasing low-elevation and in many cases relatively level hiking opportunities.

  2. Usage of the forest will be for the most part free for recreational users. Funding will come from harvesting small areas of well established timber near roads either currently in service or easily brought back to a usable condition. Additional trees will be harvested if needed for good forest management, funding schools or possibly fish plants in high mountain lakes.
    Roads will be kept in good condition to well maintained trail heads. Other roads will be kept in good enough condition for fire fighting equipment access. Spur roads will have water bars installed to minimize erosion and be left until needed again.
    In most cases access will not be restricted to unmaintained roads. Some will become trails others may be kept clear by the users.
    There will be hundreds of lakes available for fishing or peaks with spectacular views within a days walk of where you park your car, pickup or motorcycle.

  3. The above comment by K Johnson, 7/7/2013, 11:23 PM is similar to my vision. However, I would add that, there needs to be some provision for access to shorter trails for those who cannot hike the longer distances. Also, by 20 years from now, the USFS should have developed good relationships with all local tribes, resulting in provision for appropriate access by tribal members to treaty-reserved cultural, subsistence, and economic resources. Also, by 20 years from now roads and other development in the forest should be fully compatible with robust natural production of fish, wildlife, and plant resources. in many cases, this will mean modification of existing roads. There is a cost associated with this, but there was a benefit from the past poor design and construction. So, those who derived the benefit from the past practices should pay the cost of reversing those impacts.

  4. Multiple use management is remembered by the Forest Service. Sustainable timber management and harvesting occurs in second growth to support communities and pay for roads and trails maintenance as Congress intended (1913). Abundant opportunities for public recreation and enjoyment of the national forests co-exist with good economic opportunities, provision of essential wood supplies and well funded rural schools and county services. A diverse and resilient landscape brought about by proper forest management provides for more and diverse wildlife. Good berry picking and scenic view spots accompany good management. The word restoration is used as in “restoring common sense”.

    • In 20 years we will have a multitude of forest roads providing public access. We will see the results of a growing awareness of the benefits of stewardship for our forest roads, trails and other special destinations which will result in drastically cutting maintenance costs. There will be a stronger sense of partnership with the forest service, tribes and the public all working toward road stewardship and there will be an expanding network of volunteers working with all government agencies to keep roads healthy, maintained and clean.

      Forest roads will provide diverse access to a multitude of recreational users dispersing them throughout the national forest so as to not have a concentrated impact in just a few areas and the American heritage of having access to our backcountry will be preserved.

      There will be public awareness that logging is part of timber management as well as enhancing habitat. Larger trees along road shoulders will be harvested to daylight roads to avoid saturating the roadbeds and to avoid damage from roots in blow-downs. This will also create very needed grazing Forestry timber harvests will encourage habitat enhancement with thinning overgrown reforested areas, removal of infested trees before infestation spreads and while the dead tree is still marketable for pulp, and planning reasonable clear cuts to provide grazing and hunting for wildlife over multiple dispersed locations to support different gene pools.

  5. My vision of USFS 20 years from now: any road that doesn’t directly bring in money either through logging or the $50 a day site fees at trail heads and camps will be decommissioned. Bridges will be vastly ignored until they washout (as they are now) and then only replaced if economically viable within the time frame of one budgetary year. Ranger jobs will cease to exist. Management will be completely voluntary. Through shameless selling of land to timber companies and visionary idolatry of overpopulated summer destinations (higher site fees, ridiculous informative nature walks, over-abundant restroom facilities and parking) to loaded unsuspecting and overweight family “hikers”, the USFS will barely avoid catastrophic and complete infrastructural collapse. And all this while cutting funding to scientific research projects and removing environmental restrictions with the most smooth talking political jargon you can sell your soul to. Oh yeah, it’s gonna be great!

  6. I think the Ice Caves trail is a good model for a well-maintained trail accessible from a paved road with good parking and restroom facilities at the trailhead. I’m perfectly OK with decommissioning 75% of the unpaved roads and letting large areas revert to wilderness for the benefit of wildlife.

  7. I would like to have access restored to the white chuck rd, tupso pass rd, illabot rd. these roads give people a chance to have a different experience than the packed popular areas.

  8. I see the existing access remaining and improving some of the rustic ameneties that are present. Maintaining near-free easy access is a vital part of the way of life for locals and visitors to Mt. Baker Snoqualimie Forest. Half of all our tax dollars (defense) today go to destroying, people’s lives around the world. Our outdoor access is our refuge, our place to blow off steam, our place to relax, reflect, and to recharge ourselves so we can go back to the developed world to be sane, productive, responsible, and compassionate people. There is no greater loss that access for all to the outdoors, among other things like food, shelter, and education.

  9. We have to look at our past to see how to make our future better. We have always had a problem with over-consumption with our land and resources. We have to find how to meld the needs of fish habitat, logging, forest use and access in an environmentally responsible way. Closing roads has not been the answer for improving fish habitat. There are less fish in our rivers now than at any other time.

  10. Hopefully you will allow the unused roads to be available to ATV’s and UTV’s to use. There are not enough places to ride west of the Cascades. I like to hike as well but I have a lot of choices for that and not for riding.

  11. I hope to see more common sense in our Federal Forest. If some of the unhealthy, overstocked second growth forest could be harvested we would have more healthy stands of forest for future generations to enjoy and it the revenue from the harvesting could be required to stay in the area more roads could be maintained and be used for a various recreational purposes. The single use preservationist would not be happy, but the national parks would still be there to satisfy there desires. Multiple use, healthy forests would provide revenue, recreation and a diverse ecosystem.

  12. In 20 years, I foresee a greatly reduced road system on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This is not simply a “vision” on my part, but an unfolding reality. Although I applaud the Forest Service for taking the initiative to decommission a significant fraction of its road system, I realize that Ma Nature herself will be the primary demolisher of the road system. The agency’s resources are simply nowhere close to maintaining a road system that expanded to its greatest extent during the logging peak of the 1970s and ’80s. And that’s OK. The fish, the terrestrial wildlife, the wildlands as a whole, and people like me who prioritize natural ecosystems over human conveniences have much to look forward to.

  13. In 20 years I’d like to see roads to trail heads and for recreational uses maintained by federal dollars. Forest management should be restricted to selective cutting for sustainability and old grow trees off limits to logging. It should be allowed only in areas not popular for recreational use. The forests belong to the people not the corporations.

  14. 20 years from now I’d like to see a balanced stewardship of the land. First of all, this is public land set aside for agricultural use and recreational use. The second and third growth forests should be sustainably logged. I live in a house made of wood and the last thing I want to see in the PNW is imported lumber from China because we don’t harvest timber from our own forests and produce our own building materials. This is sustainable, local economics!

    Loggers love the forest — it is the most beautiful, serene place on the planet. I worked as a logger, but also went to Western for environmental science. I bike to work, protest coal trains, yet see the need to balance commercial timber harvest with the environment and recreation.

    A major part of the Forest Service going broke, mainly because of locking the woods up to logging, is the loss of access to the great outdoors. Less roads means less access to trails, mountain peaks, rock climbing, family camping and backcountry skiing. This is turn could produce a whole generation that could care less about stewardship and preserving the forest. Then watch the commercial interests rape the land! You haven’t seen anything until a whole generation grows up without the recreation opportunities you and I once had.

    My hope is that the Forest Service and the Feds get their heads out of the sand and realize that sustainability means logging, keeping recreation lands open and environmental stewardship. In 20 years, my son, who is two, will hopefully be passionately exploring our great national forests and sharing them with his friends and family someday.

    I hope to still be climbing off the 2060 road, Squire Creek, N. Fork of the Sauk, Hannegan Pass and more.

    One last thing. I will vote for folks who put maintenance of our great country ahead of decommissioning. That is a step backwards and true stewardship is taking care of what we have, not spending even more money to take what we have apart. Maintained roads are better for salmon, the environment and People! Have you ever seen a decommissioned road project? It is about the least environmentally friendly thing you can do to the forest or a stream.

  15. I would like future generations to enjoy snowmobiling on Mt baker, it is truly a beautiful experiance

    • For the snowmobiler–if s/he doesn’t fall into a crevasse, as has happened on Mt. Baker–maybe so. Not so beautiful for the creatures (including downstream humans) who are poisoned by the oil and gas that winds up in their drinking water, or stressed by the noise to the point of interfering with feeding and other life-sustaining activities. Not so beautiful either for the quiet recreationists trying to enjoy the mountain without noise or smells of the city.

  16. The Forest Service lost much of the public’s good will by cutting too much timber as well as cutting timber in areas they should not had. However the pendulum needs to swing. The Muckleshoot Tribe harvests their holdings. King County allows harvest on their forest lands–yes using tax dollars King County has become a major holder of forest land– and so does the state. To put a fine point on it a large part of the budget for construction of schools, colleges and buildings on the Capitol Campus in Olympia come from state land revenues.

    Those groups also evolved their practices. On Cougar Mountain State Forest hikers and loggers co-exit. New equipment is gentler on the land, the harvest units are smaller, and greater care is taken to protect slopes, wet lands, aquatic areas, scenic corridors, and natural areas.

    These folks realize forests are highly preferable to sub-divisions, and the only way we can have forests and support them is to make them pay. So they maintain working forests but in scale.

    Sooner or later I hope the public will offer it’s trust to the Forest Service again and I hope the Forest Service will earn the respect and support of the people.
    User fees and volunteers will never support a infrastructure for a large urban population. Nor will there be balanced numbers of all types of animals and plants, old growth stands, and meadows without intervention. All take capital and paid management. that can only happen with a predictable revenue stream and the cutting is also needed to keep all age classes and cover types in balance.

    It would be nice if this epiphany was reached before another 20 years.

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