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Planning Forest Roads
Proper drainage is the single most important factor in controlling soil erosion and keeping a road in usable condition.
Your plan should include:
- Lay out the road and its drainage system before equipment arrives.
- Use existing access routes if use will not aggravate erosion problems.
- Apply the Riparian Management Zone best management practices to road locations.
- Minimize the number of stream crossings.
- Provide safe and visible access to public roads.
- Avoid or minimize disturbance to areas of high quality trees.
- Coordinate with utility companies and highway departments.
- Keep grades between 2 percent and 10 percent when possible.
- Maintain buffers between roads, waterways and other sensitive areas.
- Grades up to 15 percent can be used for distances up to 300 feet.
- Break road grades frequently to divert water from the road surface onto stable areas of the forest floor.
- Use naturally stable sites such as ridge crests and well-drained sites and contours.
- Avoid gullies, seeps, and other permanently wet areas.
- Mark the locations of grade breaks, outslopes and diversions.
- Incorporate aesthetic considerations, especially in visually sensitive areas. Visually sensitive areas may include landings next to roadways, residences, and property access points.