Gravel Road

DCNR Bureau of Forestry Program

The PA Bureau of Forestry administers an annual $7 Million allocation through the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program. The Bureau dedicates this money to road projects on its 2,000+ mile network of roads that are open to public travel. The road projects funded by Forestry adhere to the Program's Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance strategies and practices just like projects done by municipalities under the Program.  A description of projects and other resources can be found in the Resources tab to the left.


History

Forestry was an active participant in the Dirt & Gravel Task Force in the mid 1990's, which led to the establishment of the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program in 1997. Forestry has been a long-standing partner in the development of the Environmentally Sensitive Road Maintenance practices used in the Program. As a cooperating agency with the SCC and local County Conservation Districts, Forestry continues to work to implement pollution prevention procedures and road maintenance practices on their roads. Forestry allocates $7 Million annually through the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program to reduce sediment pollution from unpaved roads by funding road improvement projects and providing Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) education.

The PA Bureau of Forestry maintains over 2,200 miles of public roadway in 16 forest districts
The PA Bureau of Forestry maintains over 2,200 miles of public roadway in 16 forest districts

Structure

Jason Hall, Forest Program Manager, administers the program for the Bureau and is in charge of allocating the funds to the forest districts. Along with his other duties, Jason insures that the Forestry staff is properly trained under the same 5 year ESM training renewal format utilized by the SCC program. Over 1,000 Forestry personnel have attended an ESM training since the Program began. The Center's responsibilities to Forestry include providing ESM training to BOF personnel, technical assistance on specific road projects, oversight of annual demonstration projects, and other general Program support. Forestry uses a Geographic Information System, similar to the DGRoads system used by Conservation Districts, to track project work. The GIS reporting system enables Forestry to inventory, prioritize, evaluate, manage and report its road maintenance activities in an automated manner.


Project Work

Forestry's projects implement the same ESM principles and practices used by Conservation Districts on Municipal roads including pipes, underdrain, French mattresses, raising the road, Driving Surface Aggregate, road relocation, and more. For example: from 2006 through 2010, Forestry's Dirt and Gravel Road Program has installed over 900 crosspipes, and placed over 51 miles of Driving Surface Aggregate in some of the most pristine watersheds in the Commonwealth.


Fund Distribution

State Forest Public Use Roads (Class Z1), comprised of improved dirt and gravel surfaced roads that receive routine maintenance and are open year-round for travel by licensed motor vehicles, are considered for Dirt & Gravel Funding. The road must also be within a High Quality and Exceptional Value watershed, as identified in Chapter 93, Water Quality Standards, and have a direct impact to waters through runoff or dust. In addition, the aggregate purchased for the road must be paver placed DSA. All forest districts are contacted in late March for D&G funding requests that are due the first week of May. After these funding requests are reviewed and revised, allocations are made based on the miles of Z1 roads in each district, also known as the district's "fair share". Roads outside of protected watersheds, drivable trails, and administrative roads are not eligible.

This forestry road in Tioga County was relocated away from a high quality stream
This forestry road in Tioga County was relocated away from a high quality stream

Demonstration Projects

Each year, one of Forestry's biggest priorities is to fund a demonstration project to showcase some new or innovative practices on one of their roads. Forestry and Center staff work together to develop the scope of work and project location. Center staff provide oversight of project design and implementation. These projects utilize ESM techniques and procedures that are outside the realm of "normal projects", and provide new information and educational tools for inclusion into the ESM training modules.

Past projects include:

  • Several road re-locations where highly erosive roads directly adjacent to HQ and EV watersheds were moved to a more suitable location utilizing site specific ESM techniques

  • Comparative analysis and cost benefit analysis of the use of limestone vs. sandstone DSA

  • Sediment reduction analysis on native road surface vs. DSA surface (See "Chesapeake Bay Commission Sediment Study" under "Research"). Two separate Forestry demonstration projects have focused on turning paved roads back into gravel surfaced roadways that can be more easily and cost-effectively maintained. Mini-stabilization was utilized in the Forbes Forest district. This project is highlighted in the 2008 "Worksites in Focus - Linn Run Road" and was visited during the Center's 2008 Maintenance Workshop. The second project, located in the Tuscarora Forest District, utilized a modified Full Depth Reclamation procedure to return 1.5 miles of asphalt to a maintainable DSA surface.


Contacts

Jason Hall handles the Dirt and Gravel Road Program within the PA Bureau of Forestry. While all Center staff are involved in various aspects of outreach and support to the Bureau of Forestry, Dave Shearer is the Center's "point man" on forestry issues and projects.

Jason M. Hall
Forest Program Manager
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bureau of Forestry, Recreation Section
400 Market Street, 6th Floor RCSOB
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: (717) 783-7941
Fax: (717) 783-5109
E-mail: jahall@pa.gov
www.dcnr.state.pa.us

David Shearer
Field Operations Specialist
218 Transportation Research Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0358
Fax: (814) 863-6787
E-mail: drs32@psu.edu