Sustainable Roads Update in the New Year

A participant at the Everett community meeting writes on a map.

In 2013, 224 people told us what roads are important to them and why at eight community meetings held  in Bellingham, Darrington, Enumclaw, Everett, Issaquah, Monroe, Seattle and Sedro-Woolley from June 2013 through November 2013. Over 1,800 people have given us their input via the online questionnaire that was hosted on this blog.

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Sustainable Roads Cadre is using a unique science-driven approach developed by the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and Portland State University to understand how people use and value landscapes and resources.

This process creates what’s called “socio-spatial data layers.” These layers, which provide data such as “where do you like to go on the forest” or “what activity do you do on the forest” will be incorporated into existing forest digital map data to validate and contribute to the analysis for the Sustainable Roads report. The results will provide visual displays of visitor destinations, routes, and show places with special meaning or value. It will identify areas of high impact or conflict. The data measures, assesses and identifies values comparatively.

In addition to incorporating this information into the Sustainable Roads report, it can be used for future recreation and stewardship planning.

What’s next?  We’re working hard behind the scenes to analyze the information gathered at the community meetings and online questionnaire with the help of the cadre. 

From this data we will identify general themes, concerns about consequences of road reductions, important criteria for road planning, decision-making and creative ideas and solutions.  The socio-spatial mapped information generated by the community meetings will indicate priority roads for various members of the public.

In February 2014 we expect to get the first cut of the socio-spatial maps.

In 2014 each district on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest will host a follow-up meeting with meeting participants and interested public to discuss this first set of results. The schedule of the meetings will be posted on this blog soon, so please check back regularly.

Do you have any questions? This is a work in progress. We may not be able to meet some of these milestones on the dates we’ve provided above, but we’re striving to meet this timeline. If you have questions please email the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest at mbs_pao@fs.fed.us.

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