Montana Public Radio

Flathead National Forest

A trail sign near the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (PD)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A pilot has been fined for landing a helicopter in a federally protected wilderness area in Montana.

Samuel L. Schwerin, 48, landed his helicopter in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex May 16, The Daily Inter Lake reports.

A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

As bear activity is picking up across northwest Montana, grizzly bear managers are juggling the uncertain and unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on wild places.

On Friday, state, federal and tribal wildlife officials met remotely over Zoom for their semi-annual meeting. The group discussed how to manage the largest grizzly populations in the lower 48 states – the bears in and around Glacier National Park.

Map showing the vicinity of the propose Stovepipe Project on the Flathead National Forest.
U.S. Forest Service

The Flathead National Forest is proposing a fuels-reduction project in the northwest area of the Flathead Valley. The project includes commercial logging and road building.

The Flathead National Forest issued a draft decision Thursday for a large forest thinning project northwest of Whitefish. The project calls for a thousands of acres of commercial timber harvest and several miles of new roads.

Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest announced Friday that it has a new leader. Kurt Steele will replace former Forest Supervisor Chip Weber who retired earlier this month.

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

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.

Map of the Hellroaring basin project at Whitefish Mountain.
U.S. Forest Service

Whitefish Mountain Resort is planning on adding another ski lift and additional runs to a portion of the mountain next year. The Flathead National Forest issued a draft decision Monday that found the project had no significant impacts to the Hellroaring Basin.

Map of the Taylor Hellroaring Project.
FS USDA – https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/105405_FSPLT3_4301037.pdf

The Flathead National Forest officially approved the Taylor Hellroaring project just north of Whitefish Monday. The project will include nearly 2,000 acres of logging, mechanical thinning and prescribed fire treatments as well as construction of 28 miles of new trails.

Truck carrying timber
Bell & Jeff (CC-BY-2.0)

The state and the U.S. Forest Service plan to ramp up a program on Montana’s national forests that uses timber sales with restoration components to fund non-commercial conservation work. The amount of timber currently being cut under the program could grow four times over the next year. The timber industry sees that as a much-needed boon.

Swan Lake Ranger Station.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber announced Monday that he will retire in 2020, ending his 30-year career with the U.S. Forest Service.

Weber began his decades-long career with the Forest Service working on an ecology crew in southwest Oregon. He eventually went on to be a resource specialist on the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana and held two district ranger positions in Southeast Alaska and again in Oregon.

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