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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

Federal court puts hold on Kootenai National Forest logging and road-building project

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney
Montana Public Radio
The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.

On Wednesday, a federal court halted a U.S. Forest Service logging and road-building project in the Kootenai National Forest. The case centers around whether the Forest Service properly evaluated the Ripley project’s impact on grizzly bears.

The project includes over 10,000 acres of commercial logging, construction of 19 miles of new permanent and temporary roads and over 90 miles of maintenance and reconstruction of existing roads, according to court documents.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies argued that the Forest Service skirted its responsibilities to properly evaluate the impact of road construction and work on the small threatened grizzly bear population in the bordering Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem, which is located in northwest Montana.

Missoula U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen ruled that the environmental group was likely to succeed on that argument and put a hold on the Ripley project while the case works its way through court.

Kootenai National Forest spokesperson Willie Sykes said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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