Hoosier National Forest officials are looking to decommission 13 roads, as well as parts of 52 others, for a total of 22 miles. All of the roads are in the forest’s Pleasant Run area, which is located in Monroe, Brown, Lawrence and Jackson counties.
“The last thing we want to do is panic people,” said Andrea Crain, public affairs officer with the Hoosier National Forest.
All of the roads being decommissioned — which means they will no longer be classified or used as roads — are already closed to the public and to motorized vehicles. Most have not received any type of maintenance in years, and some have trees growing on them.
The public has an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes from now through May 9.
Although 22 miles of road may sound imposing to most people, Crain said, many of the roads in question have not functioned as roads for years, but are listed on U.S. Forest Service maps as roads. The project’s aim is “getting things on paper as they are in real life.”
She said the roads to be decommissioned fall into three categories: 9.5 miles of roads that are “pretty much grown over” and no longer roads; 4.5 miles of roads used to access areas within the Hoosier National Forest so workers can maintain openings in the forest canopy for wildlife; and a third group of roads that now exist as trails even though at one time they were roads.