When driving a forest road think of it as a living part of nature. You are not the only one using this road, a forest road is part of a neighborhood of wildlife. Deer crop the tender vegetation along the road, bears enjoy the berries on the sunny slopes and grouse are often seen along the shoulders of a road.
Winter is a wonderful time to explore a forest road by walking or snowshoeing. You will definitely see lots of tracks in the snow and how many wildlife neighbors use our roads in the backcountry.
By adopting a road you are the eyes for this road as well as keeping debris off of the road and its drainage.
Everything hangs in a delicate balance for a gravel roadbed and how well it is nurtured will determine greatly its lifespan. Roads that are constantly saturated are fragile. This is why the forest service conducts routine thinning along the roads removing trees leaning over the road or deciduous trees keeping portions of the road in constant shade so the road never drys out. Deciduous trees also drop the majority of debris on roads and their drainage. Driving on soft shoulders to go around debris on the road can cause severe erosion to the roadbed over time. Many of these obstructions can easily be removed by simply stopping the vehicle putting on some work gloves and removing it. This is the same scenario for seeing an obstruction blocking a ditch.
Next time you drive one of our beautiful forest roads think about what a treasure this! See litter along the road? Remember to bring your garbage sack so you can pick it up! There is something very satisfying knowing you left a special place better than you found it. Think of yourself as a steward of that road and how you can be a part of protecting it and passing this legacy of public access to the next generation. Better yet share your next trip with our younger generation!
One of our "Friends" adopted forest road #28 and Texas Pond. He took his grandson with him to help pick up garbage, they rowed their boat out and picked up garbage floating on the lake, then walked the shores picking up until everything was clean. His grandson became more and more agitated by all the garbage, but by the end of the day he felt the sense of accomplishment that comes with bring positive change and becoming a steward of our backcountry and forest roads.