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Know the West

A road-ripper's report

  -The Road-Ripper's Guide to Wildland Road Removal takes up where the first four Road-Ripper's Guides left off. While the first four explain legal and political strategies for challenging different land-management agencies to close and remove roads, this guide explains how to make sure those roads are removed correctly."

* Bethanie Walder

In 1997, Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck called for the destruction of 25,000 miles of roads that criss-cross our national forests. To help Dombeck achieve his goal, the Missoula-based Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads has published The Road-Ripper's Guide to Wildland Road Removal. Scott Bagley's 40-page primer preaches the benefits of eliminating roads and explains everything from how roads can erode hillsides to the basics of road removal techniques. Bethanie Walder, Wildlands Center director, says the federal agency needs the scrutiny of activists. "Sometimes the Forest Service says it's removing roads, but it's really just removing a road from the inventory and not removing the road on the ground." If roads aren't removed correctly, she adds, they will continue to damage watersheds.

The illustrated, indexed report is $7 from Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads, P.O. Box 7516, Missoula, MT 59807.

*Ali Macalady