Montana Public Radio

Flathead Timber, Wildfire Project Includes Logging In Roadless Areas

Dec 18, 2019

The Flathead National Forest announced a large project Wednesday that proposes commercial logging in areas usually protected from that activity. Officials say it aims to reduce wildfire risk to private homes near the North Fork of the Flathead River.

The U.S. Forest Service is currently in the scoping phase for the Frozen Moose Project, which proposes roughly 3,500 acres of commercial logging. Most of that work would take place on general forest lands, but some logging projects would fall within roadless areas and the Wild and Scenic Flathead River Corridor.

This map shows the southern portion of the proposed action for the Frozen Moose Project in the Flathead National Forest.
Credit Flathead National Forest

Both designations generally protect areas from commercial logging, but the Forest Service says the work falls under an exception that allows commercial logging aimed at reducing wildfire risk to private property.

Project coordinator Sarah Canepa says fires along the North Fork of the Flathead River historically have moved quickly to the east.

"Our goal is to try to create a fuels buffer to the west of these private properties to modify fire behavior before it reaches the private property along North Fork Road."

The project also includes about 4,600 acres of non-commercial thinning and prescribed burns as well as whitebark pine restoration.

The Forest Service hopes to finalize the project by next winter.

The Flathead National Forest is accepting comments on the proposed action through Jan. 17:

Electronic input may be submitted to: comments-northern-flathead-hungry-horse-glacier-view@usda.gov with “Frozen Moose Project” in the subject line. Acceptable formats include MS Word, RTF, or PDF. 

Please send written input to:

Robert Davies, District Ranger
Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger District
P.O. Box 190340
Hungry Horse, MT 59919

Oral comments can be provided at the Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger Station during normal business hours, via telephone, or in person. Normal business hours are 8:00 am–4:30 pm, Monday–Friday, excluding holidays.

Input received in response to this solicitation, including names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record, and will be available for public inspection. 

Please contact Sarah Canepa, project team leader, if you would like more information about the project at (406) 387-3800

sarah.canepa@usda.gov