Montana Public Radio

Flathead National Forest

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.

Whitefish Mountain Resort is planning on adding another ski lift and additional runs to a portion of the mountain in 2020. See the forest service analysis of the plan: https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/110358_FSPLT3_5058080.pdf
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.

Fire Management Officer Keith Van Broke oversees the start of a 2017 prescribed burn to clear dry, dead brush from an area logged three years previous.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

Consistently wet weather this month and the expected snowstorm this weekend are dampening fire managers’ hopes for large prescribed burns in the Flathead Valley this fall. Managers may have to wait until next season for some projects.

Fire Management Officer Keith Van Broke oversees the start of a 2017 prescribed burn to clear dry, dead brush from an area logged three years previous.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

After a tame fire season, the Flathead National Forest hopes to spark a number of prescribed burns in the coming weeks, but rain could limit how much work fire managers get done.

Glacier Loon Project Decision Notice April 2018
USDA

A multi-year court battle over the Glacier Loon timber sale in the Swan Valley will continue. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is now asking the lower court to decide whether the project needs to be reassessed under different regulations protecting grizzly bears. 

The Flathead National Forest is now taking comments on how it should manage the three forks of the Flathead River.
U.S. Forest Service

The Flathead National Forest is now taking comments on how it should manage the three forks of the Flathead River. The plan, expected early next year, could implement user restrictions to protect fish, wildlife and the user experience.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday it is taking scoping comments that will help shape the new management plan.

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