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Too many roads?
Contributors to this thread:
Missouribreaks 14-Jan-18
Irishman 14-Jan-18
Shoots-Straight 03-Feb-18
Irishman 05-Feb-18
Shoots-Straight 09-Feb-18
Irishman 14-Feb-18
Flynarrow 18-Feb-18
Irishman 01-Mar-18
Straight Arrow 01-Mar-18
LKH 13-Apr-18
Tomtana 28-Jan-19

Missouribreaks's Link
From the Billings Gazette. I bet I know where this is headed.

From: Irishman
I'm not sure why an area like BC with 15,000 grizzly bears and relatively few roads would want to close roads. If grizzlies where threatened, and removing roads actually did help them, then it might make sense, but I don't believe that either is the case. Grizzly numbers have increased in Montana, but I doubt closing roads had a big impact. I'm guessing that maybe having no hunting season for 30 years had probably more to do with it. I like hunting closed roads, as long as they don't get carried away and close entire road systems, so it is no longer practical to hunt these areas due to the distance you have to travel. What I do not see any logic in is the decommissioning of roads. Spending money to destroy a road that could be used for hiking or biking makes no sense. Also from what I've witnessed the bears tend to like the roads too.

I believe that the more dense roads become, the less game utilize the area, and or die. Decommission of roads are usually do to the fact that they put more roads in an area than the standards allowed in the first place. Many areas that have decommissioned roaded areas become better hunting areas in the long term. Mostly just my opinion but there's some factual information available. Just as Forest Service personal why they decommission roads.

From: Irishman
I've asked guys who work for the forest service, and they tend to be as puzzled as me.

Get up the chain of command a little bit. I guarantee that they understand why decommissioning takes place. If the road densities for that forested area are over the Forest plan standard then they take out the non essential roads to comply. If they put a road in illegally (which happened a lot) then they are required by law to remove them.

From: Irishman
Shoots-Straight, I've dealt with the Forest Service through work for almost 30 years. You are making an assumption that their Forest plan makes sense, when that is not always the case. Closing roads makes sense to me, in some areas. Decommissioning makes no sense to me. The whole argument that animals don't like roads, doesn't hold water. Most of the times that I track animals, elk, bears, wolves, they tend to walk on roads as much as they can, especially gated roads that they do a lot of their eating along, and are relatively not bothered.

From: Flynarrow
As one who spent 32 years in the Forest Service in a variety of positions, roads are one of the most important things that makes a difference to hunters. While we all use roads to access TO the Forest, we also need a balance of roads THRU the Forest. While most of us will agree we need some roads open, most of us have our opinions about how many and to where. Even when closed, the road prism will be a convenient conduit for hunters to walk or ride bikes or horses into the heart of some of the best security. Without hard to reach good secure (hard to access) habitat, elk in particular are forced onto private lands where they arent available to public land hunters. Obliteration makes sense where the a road isnt needed for a long time, with the added benefit of additional security and prevents illegal atv use. Too much access and something has to give....displaced elk, small bulls, poor cow bull ratios, etc.

From: Irishman
So it's people walking down gated roads that causes elk to seek out private land? And it's not those nice green pastures on the private land attracting elk? So if you decrease the number of roads, wouldn't that just mean more hunters on the remaining roads, and more likelihood of displacing the elk from those roads? Anyway, instead of wasting taxpayer money destroying roads, I'd rather they spent the money maintaining some of the roads they have abandoned, so they can be used for hiking/biking, rather than just being overgrown with brush.

No, it's motorized vehicles that circumvent gated roads. It is significantly less costly to abandon a no longer used road than to maintain it year after year ... and weed control, erosion control, debris removal, etc. The money? What money? It's all for saving structures in the wildland urban interface and fighting fires.

From: LKH
Read about the Starky Unit study of elk and deer behavior in Oregon. Old but still relevant. Elk avoid active roads and deer stay closer. Probably to avoid elk.

From: Tomtana
What a joke. I'm pretty sure the Swan Valley in nw Montana has a griz population that rivals anywhere and there's lots of roads! If you listen to the usfs youre a fool. Here in the Kalispell Mt area fwp has about 30 grizzlies collared on the valley floor living around houses!

Current studies in B.C. Canada have proven roads density does not matter. It's wether it's gated or not that matters. Big game utilize roads as it's the path of least resistance. However open roads to motorized vehicle does push game away from those areas.

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