Making RMAPs Work For Family Forests and Fish

by Pat McElroy Washington State Forester

(This was distributed to newspapers statewide today.)

5/25/02 - As Washington's State Forester, I am dedicated to keeping family foresters
across the state productive and ensure that they continue to be an important
part of our economy and heritage.

Recently, many small forest landowners and others have expressed concerns
about the road maintenance and abandonment plans (RMAPs) which are a part of
the new Forest & Fish rules, adopted two years ago.

At the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), our first priority is to work
with landowners to make clear how the rules impact them, and to listen to
their concerns and suggestions.  We are already working with the federal
government and state legislators to see that the rules meet the goals for
creating clean water and fish habitat, while keeping family forestry viable
in Washington.

Currently, there are some misconceptions about the rules.  First, these
rules cover only forest roads in forestland.  Agricultural roads or roads
through non-forested areas are not impacted.  Many may find that roads on
their property are not impacted by these rules.

Some road plans will require assistance from engineers or biologists, but
for many family forest owners, the plan will take a matter of minutes.
Plans that require more significant work are the road networks that cross or
travel along streams. We are working to find ways to ease that burden, and
are compiling a wide range of ideas for discussion this summer.

Finally, while some roads need to be improved, the standards vary.  Not all
roads have to meet the most restrictive standards.  Roads are different, and
we encourage those with concerns to contact their local DNR office to
receive help to determine what standards are appropriate.

Providing clean water and good habitat for fish is an important goal of the
new Forest & Fish rules.  We don't believe, however, that the rules must pit
family foresters against healthy streams.

During the next few months we will continue to work with legislators, small
forest landowners, the federal government and others on this issue.  If you
have questions or need more information, contact your regional DNR office or
visit our web page at

As State Forester, my pledge is to work with everyone to find the best
solution for family foresters and for clean water.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

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