Forest roads or forest tracks are non-public roads or tracks intended to carry motorised vehicles or horse-drawn wagons being used mainly or exclusively for forestry purposes, such as conservation or logging.
Forest roads may be tarmacked, gravelled or metalled (using hard core) and often have restrictions on use. In many regions the establishment of forest roads is not only subject to approval under forest management law, but also conservation law.
In mountainous regions the situation is more complex. On the one hand, forest roads on steep mountainsides must be wider than on the plains in order to enable vehicles to safely negotiate hairpin bends. On the other hand, the widening of old tracks runs the risk of heavier erosion or landslides.
Forest roads may be open to ramblers, but their use by mountain bikers is the subject of heated discussion in some countries. The forestry industry often wants to impose restrictions in the very areas where tourist authorities want to argue for free and open use.
Forest roads may be subdivided into various classes according to their capacity. For example, in Germany, the key of topographic maps distinguishes between are metalled roadways (Befestigte Fahrwegen), roadways (Fahrwegen), forest tracks (Waldwegen) and footpaths (Fußwegen), the latter not being suitable for forest vehicles.
- Peter Dietz, Wolfgang Knigge, Hans Löffler: Walderschließung. Ein Lehrbuch für Studium und Praxis unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Waldwegebaus. Parey, Hamburg und Berlin 1984, 426 pp., ISBN 3-490-02116-9
- Swen Hentschel, Funktionenbezogene Optimierung der Walderschließung im Göttinger Stadtwald unter Einsatz Geographischer Informationssysteme, especially Kap. 3.4 - Herleiten eines bedarfsorientierten Erschließungsnetzes, Diss. Göttingen, July 1999
- Verwaltungsgericht Köln Urteil Az. 14 K 5008/07 (PDF; 38 kB), Begründungsteil zur Waldwegedefinition, Cologne, 2 December 2008
- Forstweg in Tyrol retrieved 28 June 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Forest roads.|
- Podcast Forest roads - access to our forests at www.forstcast.net