The 43,000 mile-long U.S. Interstate Highway System "has been called the largest public works program in the history of the world dwarfing ... Egypt’s pyramids and the Great Wall of China," writes David Havlick in No Place Distant: Roads and Motorized Recreation on American’s Public Lands. Roads across our national forests, parks, wildlife refuges and BLM lands, by comparison, "span nearly thirteen times the length of the entire interstate highway system."
Havlick looks at the
origin of these roads, as well as their role in public-land
management and their impacts on ecosystems and wildlife. Federal
agencies have never been able to maintain the roads they built, he
writes, and eroding and collapsing roads are commonplace throughout
Havlick is especially interesting when he
considers the benefits of ripping out roads. Road removal does more
than end erosion, which smothers salmon spawning beds and costs
towns and cities millions in water treatment costs. Removing old
roads — and restoring native landscapes — can create
high-skill, high-paying jobs.
No Place Distant offers a
road map for healing many of our landscape’s wounds, while
simultaneously injecting some energy into rural economies hammered
by declining timber markets and the lengthening
No Place Distant: Roads and Motorized
Recreation on America’s Public Lands
David G. Havlick.
297 pages, softcover $19.95.
Island Press, 2002.
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